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Global Renewable Energy Progress Slowing Down on Policy Uncertainties

Progress in renewable energy uptake in the largest energy-consuming sectors slowed globally in 2023, amid high interest rates, supply-chain issues, and regulatory and policy uncertainties in the wake of the energy crisis, renewable energy think tank REN21 said in a new report on Thursday.

Last year, global additions to renewable power capacity increased by an estimated 36% to reach 473 gigawatts (GW), a new record for the 22nd consecutive year, REN21’s Renewables 2024 Global Status Report found.

However, by the end of 2023, only 13 countries worldwide had implemented renewable energy policies across all end-use sectors—buildings, industry, transport, and agriculture, the think tank said.   

“Currently, we run the risk of compounding this slow progress, as higher capital costs and rising inflation stall project development, against the backdrop of countries weakening existing policies,” REN21 noted.

Following the energy crisis of 2022, some countries have accelerated the transition to renewables, but others “have opted to embrace fossil fuels for energy supply assurance,” the report says.

Global investment in both natural gas and coal infrastructure remains substantial, while many developing countries have prioritized short-term economic growth over long-term energy transition, according to REN21.

“Opposition to renewables has continued to challenge the sector’s development, despite advancements in technology and growing awareness of environmental concerns,” the report reads.

Earlier this year, REN21 said that despite record investments in renewables, the current funding for clean energy deployment is insufficient for the world to reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway under the Paris Agreement.

Despite record renewables investments, which hit as much as $622.5 billion in 2023, the world is still far from what is needed to meet the climate and sustainable development goals, REN21’s Executive Director Rana Adib said.

Estimates have shown that the world would need more than twice as much annual investment in clean energy solutions by 2030 – $1.3 trillion - if it is to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius target in reach.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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