The share of renewable energy in global power generation hit 30 per cent last year after record growth in solar, but little progress has been made when it comes to decarbonizing 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 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively, the Paris-based REN21 think tank said.
With heat and fuel included, renewable sources accounted for only 12.7 per cent 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 per cent of global energy demand, with fuel accounting for 29 per cent, 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 per cent.
Global renewable capacity reached 3,481 gigawatts in 2022, with growth driven largely by China, which was responsible for 44 per cent of new capacity additions over the year.
China also invested $274.4-billion in renewables over the year, accounting for 55 per cent of the global total, REN21 said.