$12 trillion needed to triple global renewables by 2030

By Checky Abuje

Investment in Africa needs to grow five-fold to ramp up renewables twice as fast as global average.

According to the new report by Climate Analytics, $8 trillion of investment is needed for new renewables and $4 trillion for grid and storage infrastructure to deliver the 2030 tripling goal agreed at COP28 – or combined, $2 trillion a year on average. Using climate finance to mobilise $100 billion a year for the rollout in Sub-Saharan Africa, five times current investment levels which will ensure energy access for all and align the region with the global target.

“$2 trillion a year sounds like a cost, but it’s really a choice. We’re set to invest over $6 trillion in fossil fuels over this decade – more than enough to close the tripling investment gap. Faced with this choice, I’d go with the safest, best value option – renewables,” says the report’s lead author and Climate Analytics expert Dr Neil Grant.

The report however calculates how fast different regions need to act to triple global renewables based on current capacities and future needs. Renewable capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa needs to scale rapidly by a factor of seven (double the global average) due to historic underinvestment and energy access needs. The OECD is forecast to double its renewables by 2030, but it needs to triple.

Accelerating action in line with this would close 60% of the global gap between forecast capacity in 2030 and the tripling goal.

“The OECD needs to triple renewables but is currently way off target. Countries in the region claiming to be climate leaders need to walk the talk, not just by ramping up renewables at home, but by coming through for other regions which need finance to contribute to the tripling goal,” says Claire Fyson, co-author on the report and Head of Policy at Climate Analytics.

Asia needs to scale slightly faster than the OECD, almost quadrupling its renewable capacity by the end of the decade. Asia is the only region broadly on course for the tripling goal, driven mostly by policies in China and India.

However, the significant coal and gas pipelines in these countries risks stranded assets or slowing the transition. As renewables are set to grow strongly in the region, new fossil fuel plants are not needed and should be avoided.

“The renewables industry stands ready to deliver on the global tripling goal. But to get there in time, we need governments to take urgent action to turbocharge an already buoyant renewables market. Public finance is key, especially international support to provide access to low-cost capital for emerging markets to join the renewables era, ensuring a clean, secure and just transition for all,” says Bruce Douglas, CEO of the Global Renewables Alliance in reaction to the report.

Tripling renewables by 2030 is not the end of the story. The report finds renewables need to continue growing strongly beyond the end of the decade, scaling up five times by 2035 relative to 2022, to limit warming to 1.5°C. As governments start to develop their 2035 targets for the next round of NDCs, they should consider how to follow through on the tripling ambition collectively agreed at COP28.

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Climate Investment Funds Endorses Kenya’s $70 million Plan for 100 percent Clean Energy

The Trust Fund Committee of the Climate Investm ent Funds (CIF)has endorsed a $70 million plan, with an initial allocation of $46.39 million, to advance the integration and utilisation of renewable energy in the Kenyan grid, enabling the country’s transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2030. This approval, as part of CIF’s Renewable Energy Integration (REI) investment program, will support Kenya’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent by 2030 and achieve Net Zero by 2050.

The initiative will see Kenya’s CIF REI plan support access to clean, adequate, affordable, and reliable electricity in the country. It is expected to mobilize at least an additional $243 million from the public and private sectors through implementing partners—the African Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

Currently, the share of renewable energy in Kenya is almost 90 percent – including 45 percent geothermal and 26 percent hydropower,but the system faces challenges. During evening hours, it struggles to meet peak demand, but later, at night, generation surpluses from geothermal and wind are sometimes not dispatched.

Kenya’s REI investment plan will improve dispatch, grid stability, and flexibility to address these issues. It will facilitate future private sector investment in innovative storage technologies, such as battery storage and pumped hydropower. The energy system will also be better prepared for a significant increase in electric mobility and cooking. The plan contributes to the expansion of variable renewable energy, such as wind and solar, from 19 percent to 30 percent by 2030.

CIF has established the pioneering REI program precisely to address the issues linked to the deployment of clean and intermittent power sources in developing economies. REI can support a mix of supply/demand side flexibility measures— enabling technologies, enabling infrastructure, market design and system operations improvement, and electrification and demand management; while advancing social inclusion and leveraging private sector financing.

Ten countries have been selected to take part in this program, with Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, and Mali’s investment plans endorsed by the CIF Trust Fund Committee in 2023.