The global renewable energy share can reach and exceed 30% by 2030 at no extra cost, says the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in a new report.
According to the group, the study maps out a pathway for doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix based on the technologies that are available today. The report finds energy efficiency and improved energy access can advance the share of renewables in the global energy mix up to 36%.
"There is a strong economic case for the renewable energy transition. When considering climate change mitigation, health impact and job creation, the transition practically pays for itself," says Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA's director-general. "More renewables in the energy system provide greater flexibility, increase energy independence and make the system more resilient."
The study further says the deployment of modern renewables – sources that exclude traditional use of biomass – needs to grow more than threefold, and a rethinking of energy taxes and subsidies is critical to the economic case for renewable energy. In addition, the study says a reduction of fossil fuel subsidies will facilitate the uptake of renewables. Subsidies for renewable energy can even disappear altogether, if green house gas emissions and other air pollution are reasonably priced, the study adds.
"Many governments are underestimating the potential of renewables in their planning the for energy transition. To reach the goal of doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030, additional efforts are needed, particularly in the building, industry and transport sectors," says Dolf Gielen, director of IRENA's Innovation and Technology Centre in Bonn, Germany.
"We identified five areas of national action: Planning realistic but ambitious transition pathways; creating an enabling business environment; managing knowledge of technology options and their deployment; ensuring smooth integration of renewables into the existing infrastructure; and unleashing innovation."