Still not fast enough, despite record-breaking year

Industry News – July 01, 2024

REN21 launches third part of the Renewables 2024 Global Status Report at The smarter E Europe

Rana Adib, Executive Director of REN21

The task is clear, the solutions available – to complete the energy transition and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, all that’s left to do is to dramatically step up the pace. That’s the core message of Rana Adib’s keynote speech at the opening of The smarter E Europe 2024. REN21’ executive director wasn’t the only one to present impressive figures – The smarter E Europe also broke new records.

“Are we on track for the future?” asked Rana Adib, Executive Director of REN21, at the opening of The smarter E Europe 2024 in Munich on June 19.

During the opening press conference, REN21’s executive director presented the latest figures from the third section of the Renewables 2024 Global Status Report (GSR 2024) entitled Energy Supply, which was officially launched at The smarter E Europe.

Investments and capacity additions at record levels

Last year, the energy transition continued to accelerate. With 536 GW, a 54 percent increase over 2022, the global installed renewable electricity generation capacity has now reached a new record of 4,034 GW. Photovoltaics led the way with 407 GW of installed capacity, followed by 117 GW of wind power. China was the strongest of all countries, doubling its capacity additions. Compared to 2022, Europe’s deployment of renewables grew by 11 percent.

A record $623 billion was invested in renewable energy worldwide in 2023. Investments in new production capacities increased by 70 percent to around $200 million, with China at the top of the list once again, with 75 percent. The battery storage market is also seeing rapid growth. In 2023, $36.3 billion were invested worldwide, nearly 77 percent more than in 2022. The capacity of utility-scale battery storage systems increased by 65 percent to around 29.2 GW.

Small advances in heating and transport

But Adib did not just focus on the positives. She also noted that despite this success, fossil energy still receives $1 million in subsidies every minute. That’s $600 billion per year. In addition, due to the growing energy demand, more fossil fuels were burned in 2022 than ever before – while renewables were only able to cover a portion. Little progress has been made in the heating sector and in fuels, even though nearly half of the world’s energy is used for heating (48 percent), followed by fuels (29 percent) and electricity (23 percent).

Power grids are another bottleneck in the energy transition. “In 2023, 1,500 GW of projects in advanced stages stalled due to permitting and access issues,” reports the head of REN21. Although $300 billion were invested in power grids last year, the amount of investments is stagnating. According to IRENA’s data, $4,800 billion would need to be invested by 2030.

Investment and capacity additions need to be doubled

Despite the challenges, Adib believes the world community is on the right track for the energy transition, because the task is clear and the solutions are available: “The technology is there, the industry is there, and people can engage. Now it’s about deployment and acceleration.” However, in order to meet the goals of the UN Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP28), we would need to invest twice as much every year until 2030, $1,300 billion to be exact. We would also need to double the amount of new installations per year to 996 GW. The key lies in politics, Adib emphasized.

Governments need to create the stable framework conditions necessary for investments, for the industry and for end customers. It’s also important to better integrate power supply and demand through more infrastructure in the form of smart grids and storage. Find out more about the GSR 2024 in our podcast episode with Rana Adib .

The smarter E Europe attracted over 3,000 exhibitors and 110,000 visitors.

The success and potential of renewable energies was reflected in the conference rooms and exhibition halls of The smarter E Europe and its four exhibitions. Over 2,500 people from all over the world attended the specialist conferences and side events of Intersolar Europe, ees Europe, Power2Drive Europe and EM-Power Europe. Across a total of 19 exhibition halls and the Outdoor Area, 3,008 exhibitors from 55 countries presented their solutions for a renewable 24/7 energy supply. The exhibition set a new record with 110,000 visitors.

Next year's The smarter E Europe will take place in Munich from May 7–9, 2025.

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