New analysis from IRENA finds that renewables are now the cheapest form of energy - and capacity is set to rise significantly over the next few decades.
Addressing climate change requires us to decarbonize both energy supply and demand by 2050. The US, Europe and China have committed to net zero or carbon neutrality by mid-century. Others are following suit. This will have a profound effect on the global energy transition, placing electricity as a key vector in decarbonizing the entire energy sector.
The latest insights from IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook were released on 16 March at the Berlin Energy Transitions Dialogue. It provides in-depth analysis of what these effects will look like, starting from the Paris Climate agreement objective of limiting climate change to well below 2˚C and with an effort for 1.5˚C by the end of this century. While several options are being considered for a deep decarbonization, it is clear that renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification are at the centre of the global energy transition.
While climate change mitigation is a powerful driver behind the shift away from fossil fuel-based power generation, this is not the only driver. At the same time, renewable power has become the cheapest form of electricity generation and the costs continue to fall thanks to improvements in technology and economies of scale. The share of renewable power continue to rise from year to year, with nearly 30% renewables in the global power mix at present and renewables dominating yearly capacity additions (see Figure 1, below).