The Paris agreement achieved at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) is a major milestone for combating climate change and reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. In it, 195 Nations agreed a common objective to hold the increase in global temperature this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Of the INDCs submitted to the UNFCCC, 40% target increased renewables deployment in order to reduce GHG emissions. As well as spearheading the fight against climate change, renewable energy also helps to reduce local air pollution and the associated health impacts, as well as mitigating potential energy security risks that arise from a high dependence on imported energy.
There are encouraging signs: the use of low-carbon energy sources is expanding rapidly, and there are indications that growth in the global economy and energy-related emissions have started to decouple. The deployment of renewables is on the rise, accounting for nearly half of all new power generation capacity completed in 2014 and preliminary estimates point towards further strong growth in 2015, facilitated by policy support and by a rapid decline of costs for renewable energy technologies in recent years, especially solar photovoltaics and wind power.
The long-term transition to an energy system consistent with the COP21 goals will require a significant scale-up in use of renewable energy – both in electricity, heat and transport. Based on an assessment of policies in place or announced today, renewables are projected to become the leading source of electricity by 2030, but this is not enough to achieve a peak in global energy-related GHG emissions. In order to deliver an earlier peak in emissions – an essential step if the door to the COP21 objectives is to remain open – further action and policy support is needed to drive down costs, improve competitiveness, and accelerate the deployment and integration of renewables. At the same time, increased investments are required in a combination of improved networks, energy storage, demand response and flexible power plants in order to ensure a reliable and affordable power supply.
Against this backdrop, the 2016 edition of the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook (WEO) publication – which presents authoritative energy market analysis and projections, including critical insights into trends in energy demand and supply and what they mean for energy security, environmental protection and economic development – will include an in-depth feature on renewables and their prospects to 2040. The primary objective of the analysis is to inform policy- and decision-makers about the challenges and opportunities for renewables deployment in power and other sectors. The WEO2016 will be released in 16 November this year.
As part of this study, the IEA will host a high-level workshop to draw insights from a range of distinguished experts from governments, energy companies, international organisations, academia and civil society. Specifically, the aim of the workshop is to inform the WEO analysis in the following areas:
- Current policies and the main drivers for renewables deployment in power, heat and transport from a regional perspective.
- The competitiveness of renewable energy technologies vis-à-vis alternatives.
- Renewables integration challenges and the measures needed to address them.
- The impact of future policy design on investment conditions for renewables.
The results of this workshop will provide essential input to give strategic direction to the analysis and key messages of the WEO-2016. The meeting will be informal in nature and held under the Chatham House Rule, according to which participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. Each session will be introduced by invited experts and followed by an open roundtable discussion. Attendance is by invitation only.