Most clean-energy technologies are not on track to meet the world’s long-term climate goals, make energy universally accessible, and significantly lower air pollution, with just 4 out of 38 techs on track to do this, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report published on Wednesday.
Last year, only solar photovoltaic (PV) in the power sector; lighting and data centers & networks in the buildings sector; and electric vehicles in the transport sector were on track, according to the IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress—an assessment of energy technologies and sectors that are critical in a global clean-energy transition. The technologies were measured against the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario, a pathway to reach the Paris Agreement’s well-below 2°C climate goal, deliver universal energy access, and significantly lower air pollution.
“Some technologies have made tremendous progress in 2017 – particularly solar PV, LEDs and EVs – but most are not on track,” the agency said in its progress report.
Last year, solar PV showed record 34-percent growth in power generation and is well on track to meet climate targets. The technology led the expansion in renewable power generation in 2017, as deployment boomed in China and prices continued to fall. Since 2010, prices have declined by 70 percent for new solar PV large utility-scale systems, the IEA says.
EV sales last year surged 54 percent to a record 1.1 million cars globally. China accounted for nearly half of all electric car sales, while Norway has the highest per capita ownership, the IEA reckons.
Despite the success of four technologies, most others are not on track to meet long-term sustainability goals.
A total of 11 of 38 technologies surveyed by the IEA were significantly not on track, especially unabated coal electricity generation (generation without Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage, or CCUS), which is responsible for 72 percent of power sector emissions.
Meanwhile, progress in onshore wind and energy storage slowed, which led to the IEA downgrading those two technologies to “in need of improvement,” bringing the total number of technologies in need of improvement to 23.
“There is a critical need for more vigorous action by governments, industry, and other stakeholders to drive advances in energy technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said in a statement.
“The world doesn’t have an energy problem but an emissions problem, and this is where we should focus our efforts.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.