Renewable transition still lagging in fuel, heating sectors – research

Source: By David Stanway, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Solar panels to produce renewable energy are seen at the Urbasolar photovoltaic park in Gardanne

SINGAPORE, June 13 (Reuters) – The share of renewable energy in global power generation hit 30% last year after record growth in solar, but little progress has been made when it comes to decarbonising the heat and fuel sectors, according to a research report published on Tuesday.

Though heating and fuel account for more than three quarters of global energy use, both remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels, with renewable sources accounting for just 3.6% and 9.2% respectively, the Paris-based REN21 think tank said.

With heat and fuel included, renewable sources accounted for only 12.7% of the world’s total energy supply, said Rana Adib, REN21’s executive director.

“What we are currently witnessing is a power transition rather than an energy transition, as most policies and regulations have mainly focused on developing renewables in the power sector,” she said.

“There are 179 countries with renewable power targets – only 46 have renewable heat targets and 49 renewable fuel targets,” she added.

Heat provision makes up 49% of global energy demand, with fuel accounting for 29%, but the failure to diversify renewable energy technologies beyond wind and solar power is holding back efforts to meet climate goals, the REN21 report said.

The low prices of fossil fuels have also held back the development of renewable heat and fuel technologies. Subsidies for fossil fuels also soared to more than $1 trillion in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency, with oil subsidies up 85%.

Global renewable capacity reached 3,481 gigawatts in 2022, with growth driven largely by China, which was responsible for 44% of new capacity additions over the year.

China also invested $274.4 billion in renewables over the year, accounting for 55% of the global total, REN21 said.

Reporting by David Stanway Editing by Mark Potter