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IEA Warns Of Failure Toward Clean Energy Climate Goals

The International Energy Agency has warned that clean energy progress is falling short of the necessary levels to combat a global temperature increase.

IEA-2In a report published Wednesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) examined progress across the development and deployment of key clean energy technologies, including hydro and ocean energy, onshore and offshore wind, solar PV and thermal electricity, geothermal, and bioenergy.

Of these technologies, only solar PV was deemed to be on track. Onshore wind and hydropower were both deemed to needing improvement, while the remaining technologies were all classified as being “Not on track”.

For the full breakdown, see the chart at the end of this piece. 

“Renewable power generation continues to progress, but is not fully on track to meet the [2° Scenario (2DS)],” the authors of the report noted in the opening paragraph of the renewable power section. And the next few years are expected to see continued growth, with the IEA expecting generation to grow by 45% between 2013 and 2020, reaching 7,310 TWh. However, annual capacity additions are expected to level off after 2020, leaving the industry “increasingly at risk of falling short of the 2DS generation target of 10,225 TWh by 2025”.

The primary reasons behind this threat? The IEA believes that “slow economic growth, policy uncertainty in OECD member countries, and persistent economic and non-economic barriers in OECD non-member economies” are the main reasons.

Specifically, the report notes that any progress seen in the clean energy sector is being overshadowed by the expansion of coal-fired power.

“Low-priced coal was the fastest-growing fossil fuel in 2013, and coal-fired generation increased in all regions,” the report’s authors write. “Newer coal plants can perform to a relatively high standard. But where coal-fired capacity is expanding, in emerging economies for example, less efficient, subcritical units dominate, primarily due to the absence of minimum efficiency policies.”

Renewable power generation by technology

Tracking_Clean_Energy_Progress_2015-page-026 (2)

The full report is available to download from the IEA here (PDF)

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