The world may see a significant increase in renewable energy capacity as it is projected to more than double by 2030. However, this ambitious goal requires increased financing and policy support, according to a new analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA report suggests that under current policies, renewable power capacity could grow by 7,300 gigawatts through 2028, overtaking coal as the leading source of electricity globally by 2025. This marks a 33 percent increase over 2022 projections, with China leading the surge in renewable energy generation.

However, the current pace falls short of reaching the 11,000 GW needed by 2030 to triple renewable capacity. This underscores the need for stronger incentives and increased investment in carbon-free power, particularly in emerging economies that are expected to experience major economic and population growth.

Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, stresses the need for rapid scaling up of financing and deployment of renewables in most emerging and developing economies. “The most important challenge for the international community is rapidly scaling up financing and deployment of renewables in many economies being left behind in the new energy economy,” he said.

The call for increased financing was a major sticking point during the U.N. climate talks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last month. Officials from emerging economies rich in oil and gas argued for financial support and resources to aid their transition away from fossil fuels.

Securing private sector backing for renewable energy projects has proven challenging, as many emerging economies are considered risky investments. The challenge lies in tripling clean energy capacity, a goal that seems achievable given the rapid growth seen in 2023 when renewable energy capacity grew 50 percent to more than 500 gigawatts.

This expansion was almost exclusively among the world’s 20 largest economies, with China leading the way. In fact, China commissioned more renewable power last year than all other countries combined in 2022 and is expected to account for around 60 percent of renewable power additions in the next five years.

Dave Jones, a program director at Ember, a global energy think tank, remains optimistic about reaching the tripling goal. “The level of deployment reached in 2023 makes it clear that a tripling of renewables is entirely achievable. Almost 90 percent of the upgrade in the IEA’s forecast to last year came as China’s renewable forecast was boosted upwards,” he said.

As we move towards 2030, the need to increase renewable energy capacity becomes increasingly urgent. With the right financing and policy support, we can make significant strides towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

Image Credit: Scientific American