According to a report by consultancy DNV, clean energy sources are experiencing unprecedented growth. However, instead of replacing fossil fuels, renewables are merely meeting the new energy demands.
DNV’s CEO, Remi Eriksen, emphasized that the global energy transition has not yet commenced in terms of clean energy surpassing fossil fuel energy. While renewable energy production has been growing substantially, global emissions from fossil fuels are still going up.
Last year, there were notable increases in electric vehicle sales and solar installations. Nevertheless, between 2017 and 2022, fossil fuels accounted for 51% of the world’s new energy demand.
In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, carbon dioxide emissions need to be halved by 2030. However, DNV’s research indicates that by 2030, these emissions will only be 4% lower than they are today. Ny 2050, they will be 46% lower.
DNV concluded that meeting the Paris Agreement targets is now less probable than ever. Geopolitical events such as the Ukrainian conflict and the resulting energy crisis in Europe contributed to a global resurgence in coal consumption last year. The report also highlighted increased coal usage in China due to high gas prices and a hydropower-impacting drought.
Once the energy transition gains momentum, renewables are expected to surpass fossil fuels. DNV projects that wind and solar energy will increase ninefold and seventeenfold respectively by 2050.
Clean energy sources will grow from 20% of the world’s energy system today to 50% by mid-century. While this progress is commendable, it falls short of meeting the goals set in the Paris Agreement.
As the UN’s COP28 climate conference approaches, DNV is set to release its “Pathway to Net Zero” report. The report is expected to show that the renewable sector’s growth is not being held back by a lack of technology. Instead, growth is being held back by the lack of incentives to adopt renewable energy and the lack of disincentives to abandon fossil fuels.
DNV research director Sverre Alvik told reporters that the US government may need to rethink its push for renewable energy. Although the US has generous clean energy incentives like the Inflation Reduction Act, it doesn’t yet charge carbon credits to companies that produce excessive emissions.
Alvik argued that it may be time for the US to introduce carbon credits. According to Recharge News, carbon credits are already commonplace throughout Europe.