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WORLD
ENERGY
TRANSITIONS
OUTLOOK 2023
1.5°C PATHWAY
PREVIEW
ABOUT IRENA
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) serves as the principal platform for international
co-operation,acentreofexcellence,arepositoryofpolicy,technology,resourceandfinancialknowledge,
and a driver of action on the ground to advance the transformation of the global energy system. A global
intergovernmental organisation established in 2011, IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and
sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean,
solar and wind energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security, and
low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. www.irena.org
© IRENA 2023
Unless otherwise stated, material in this publication may be freely used, shared, copied, reproduced,
printed and/or stored, provided that appropriate acknowledgement is given of IRENA as the source and
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before any use of such material.
ISBN: 978-92-9260-527-8
CITATION
This publication is a preview of the forthcoming report, IRENA (2023), World Energy Transitions Outlook
2023: 1.5°C Pathway, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.
Available for download: www.irena.org/publications
For further information or to provide feedback: publications@irena.org
The data presented herein is accurate at the time of publication. Modelling results may change ahead of
the launch of the full report.
DISCLAIMER
This publication and the material herein are provided “as is”. All reasonable precautions have been taken
by IRENA to verify the reliability of the material in this publication. However, neither IRENA nor any of
its officials, agents, data or other third-party content providers, provides a warranty of any kind, either
expressed or implied, and they accept no responsibility or liability for any consequence of use of the
publication or material herein.
The information contained herein does not necessarily represent the views of all Members of IRENA. The
mention of specific companies or certain projects or products does not imply that they are endorsed or
recommended by IRENA in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. The designations
employed, and the presentation of material herein, do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part
of IRENA concerning the legal status of any region, country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or
concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.
PREVIEW
WORLD
ENERGY
TRANSITIONS
OUTLOOK 2023
Francesco La Camera
Director-General, IRENA
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
The recent Synthesis Report of the IPCC Sixth Assessment has delivered a sobering message - one
that leaves little ambiguity as to the need for immediate action. This decade, our success in reducing
greenhouse gas emissions will determine whether global temperature rise can be limited to 1.5°C
or even 2°C. Within this timeframe, the only realistic option available is a considerable scale-up of
renewable energy and efficiency solutions.
The International Renewable Energy Agency’s 1.5°C pathway positions electrification and efficiency
as key transition drivers, enabled by renewable energy, clean hydrogen and sustainable biomass. This
preview of the World Energy Transitions Outlook provides an overview of the progress achieved in
developing and implementing these technological avenues. It shows that the scale and extent of the
change achieved in all sectors to date fall far short of what is required to stay on the 1.5°C pathway.
Most of the progress so far has been made in the power sector, where advances in technology, policy
and innovation have taken us a long way.
Current energy structures were designed to support fossil fuels and must be re-designed to support
renewable energy systems. The emphasis must shift from supply to demand, toward overcoming
the structural obstacles that impede progress. This preview outlines three priority pillars - physical
infrastructure; policy and regulatory enablers; and a well-skilled workforce - that must be addressed
simultaneously, requiring significant investment and a new paradigm for international co-operation in
which all actors can engage in the transition and play an optimal role.
There is no time for a new energy system to evolve gradually over more than a century - as was the
case for the fossil fuel-based system. We simply cannot continue with incremental changes if we are
to achieve the necessary reductions in carbon emissions to meet climate goals. The Global Stocktake
concluding at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates presents the opportunity to assess requirements and
determine the best path to rapid, lasting change. To this end, the forthcoming World Energy Transitions
Outlook will provide a comprehensive assessment of the energy transition and propose effective ways
to accelerate progress following this important climate action milestone.
4
The energy transition is off-track. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ripple effects of
the Ukraine crisis have further compounded the challenges facing the transition. The stakes could not be
higher - every fraction of a degree in global temperature change can trigger significant and far-reaching
consequences on natural systems, human societies and economies. Achieving the necessary course-
correction in the energy transition will require bold, transformative measures that reflect the urgency of the
present situation.
Current pledges and plans fall well short of IRENA’s 1.5°C pathway and will result in an emissions gap
of 16 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2050. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), long-term low greenhouse gas
emission development strategies (LT-LEDs) and net-zero targets, if fully implemented, could reduce carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions by 6% by 2030 and 56% by 2050, compared to 2022 levels. However, most climate
pledges are yet to be translated into detailed national strategies and plans, implemented through policies
and regulations, or supported with sufficient funding. According to IRENA's Planned Energy Scenario,1
the
emissions gap is projected to reach 35 Gt by 2050, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive action
to accelerate the transition.2
Although global investment across all energy transition technologies reached a record high of
USD 1.3 trillion in 2022, annual investment must more than quadruple to remain on the 1.5°C pathway.
A cumulative USD 150 trillion is required to realise the 1.5°C target by 2050 (Figure 1), averaging over
USD 5 trillion in annual terms. Compared with the Planned Energy Scenario - under which a cumulative
investment of USD 103 trillion is required - an additional USD 47 trillion in cumulative investment is required
by 2050 to remain on the 1.5°C pathway. Around USD 1 trillion of annual investments in fossil fuel based
technologies currently envisaged in the Planned Energy Scenario must therefore be redirected towards
energy transition technologies and infrastructure.
Cumulative investments between now and 2030 need to total USD 44 trillion, with energy transition
technologies representing 80% of the investment, or USD 35 trillion. Total cumulative energy sector
investments in the Planned Energy Scenario until 2030 are USD 29 trillion. An additional cumulative
investment of USD 15 trillion - or an annual average investment of USD 1.9 billion - would be needed in the
1.5°C Scenario until 2030. Furthermore, a change in the volume and type of investments is required under the
1.5°C Scenario to prioritise the energy transition and set the stage for a dramatic decrease in the fossil fuel
share by 2050 (Figure 1).
1
For a brief overview of the two scenarios employed in the World Energy Transitions Outlook, see inside rear
cover, page 23.
2
The present IRENA scenarios include CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, waste incineration and
industrial processes. COP announcements reflected in Nationally Determined Contributions [NDCs] as of
5 November 2022, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies [LT-LEDs] and net-zero
targets as of 5 October 2022 also include land-use emissions.
KEY MESSAGES
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
5
Annual investments across all energy
transition technologies must more than
quadruple to remain on the 1.5°C pathway.
PREVIEW
FIGURE 1 Total investment by technological avenue from 2023 to 2050
for achieving the 1.5°C Scenario
Planned Energy Scenario 1.5°C Scenario
2023-2050 2023 -2050
Power grids and energy flexibility
Carbon removal, capture and storage
measures – CCS and BECCS
(incl. transport and storage)
Electrification in end uses
Energy conservation and efficiency
Fossil fuels and nuclear - power
Fossil fuel - supply
Renewables - direct uses and district heat
150
120
90
60
30
0
Hydrogen and its derivatives
(incl. infrastructure)
Renewables - power generation
USD +47 trillion
or +1.7 trillion
per year
Cumulative energy sector investments, 2023 -2050 (USD trillion)
USD103trillion
USD150trillion
Notes: CCS = carbon capture and storage; BECCS = bioenergy, carbon capture and storage.
6
Existing renewable power targets would increase total renewable power capacity to 5.4 terawatts (TW)
by 2030, representing less than half of the 11.2 TW needed for a 1.5°C pathway. There is significant scope
for aligning and strengthening targets in the short term to provide policy clarity and certainty. In many cases,
targets in national energy plans are yet to be aligned with those in NDCs. In addition, targets should be
measurable and cover end uses beyond power. Of the 183 Parties with renewable energy components in their
NDCs, only 143 had a quantified target - 108 for power and 31 for heating and cooling, transport or cooking
(IRENA, 2022).
Some progress is being made, notably in the power sector, with renewables representing 83% of
capacity additions and reaching 40% of installed power generation globally in 2022. A total of
295 gigawatts (GW) of renewables was added worldwide in 2022, the largest-ever annual increase in
renewable energy capacity (IRENA, 2023a). The strong business case for renewables, coupled with
supportive enabling policies, has sustained an upward trend in their share of the global energy mix. However,
overall deployment remains centred on a limited number of counties and regions, with China, the European
Union and the United States accounting for 75% of capacity additions. Although large-scale deployments
of renewable energy are typically associated with countries that have well-developed power systems, it is
essential to expand deployment elsewhere, especially in developing nations that lack access to electricity.
FIGURE 2 Annual power capacity expansion, 2002-2022
New capacity
non-renewables (GW)
New capacity
renewables (GW)
Annual
capacity
installations
(GW
2014
2002 2016
2010 2018
2006
2004 2012
2008 2020 2022
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
240
210
180
150
120
90
60
30
0
Share
of
new
electricity
generating
capacity
New capacity
renewable share (%)
Renewables
share
in new
capacity
Annual
capacity
installations
(GW/yr)
2014
2002 2016
2010 2018
2006
2004 2012
2008 2020 2022
50%
15% 59%
37% 57%
23%
28% 52%
38% 82% 83%
300
225
150
75
0
New capacity
non-renewables (GW)
New capacity
renewables (GW)
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
7
More investments need to
flow into developing and
emerging markets to make the
energy transition more inclusive.
Renewable energy investment remains concentrated in a limited number of countries and focused
on only a few technologies. Investment in renewables reached USD 0.5 trillion in 2022; however, this is
less than one-third of the average investment needed each year in renewables under the 1.5°C Scenario.
Furthermore, in 2022, 85% of global renewable energy investment benefitted less than 50% of the world’s
population and Africa accounted for only 1% of additional capacity in 2022 (IRENA and CPI, 2023; IRENA,
2023a). Investments in off-grid renewable energy solutions in 2021 amounted to USD 0.5 billion (IRENA
and CPI, 2023), far below the USD 15 billion needed annually to 2030. While many technology choices exist,
most investments were in solar PV and wind power, with 95% channelled toward these technologies (IRENA
et al., 2023). Greater volumes of funding need to flow to other energy transition technologies such as
biofuels, hydropower and geothermal energy, as well as to sectors beyond power that have lower shares of
renewables in total final energy consumption (e.g. heating and transport).
Every year, the gap between what is required and what is implemented continues to grow. IRENA’s
energy transition indicators (see Table 1) show significant acceleration is needed across energy sectors and
technologies, from deeper end-use electrification of transport and heat, to direct renewable use, energy
efficiency and infrastructure additions. Delays only add to the already considerable challenge of meeting
IPCC-defined emission reduction levels in 2030 and 2050 for a 1.5°C trajectory (IPCC, 2022). The lack of
progress will also increase future investment needs and the costs of worsening climate change effects.
PREVIEW
8
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
Indicators Recent years 2050 Progress
(Off / on track)
2030
Indicators Recent years 2050 Progress
(Off / on track)
2030
Share of
renewables in
electricity
generation
Renewable
power
capacity
additions
Annual solar
PV additions
Annual wind
energy
additions
Investment
needs for RE
generation
ELECTRIFICATION WITH RENEWABLES
continued
Share of
renewables in
final energy
consumption
Solar thermal
collector area
Modern use
of bioenergy
(direct use)
Geothermal
consumption
(direct use)
Renewables based
district heat
generation
Investment
needs for
renewables
end uses and
district heat
DIRECT RENEWABLES IN END-USES AND DISTRICT HEAT
Investment
needs for
power grids
and flexibility
Energy
intensity
improvement
RENEWABLES
Y
28% 91%
67%
34%
295GW/yr 975GW/yr 1066GW/yr
191GW/yr 551GW/yr 615GW/yr
75GW/yr 329GW/yr 335GW/yr
1382
USD
billion/yr
1300
USD
billion/yr
486
USD billion/yr
216
USD billion/yr
269
USD billion/yr
13USD
billion/yr
790
USD billion/yr
548
USD billion/yr
274
USD billion/yr
19% 83%
746million m2
/yr 3700million m2
/yr
1.5EJ 56EJ
44EJ
2.2EJ
12EJ
1700million m2
/yr
0.6%/yr 3.5%/yr
0.4EJ
0.9EJ 4.3EJ
1.3EJ
2)
3)
1)
1)
1)
1)
4)
5)
6)
8)
9)
10)
11)
12)
14)
13)
28)
27)
27)
27)
7)
TABLE 1 Tracking progress of key energy system components to achieve the 1.5°C scenario
9
PREVIEW
Indicators Recent years 2050 Progress
(Off / on track)
2030
continued
Notes: see next page
Renewables based
district heat
generation
Investment
needs for
renewables
end uses and
district heat
Share of direct
electricity in
final energy
consumption
Passenger
electric cars
on the road
Investments needs
for charging
infrastructure of
EV's and EV
adoption support
Investment needs
for heat pumps
Clean hydrogen
production
Electrolyser
capacity
Investment needs
for clean hydrogen
and derivatives
infrastructure
Clean
hydrogen
consumption -
industry
CCS/CCU
to abate
emissions in
industry
BECCS and
others to abate
emissions in
industry
Investment needs
for carbon removal
and infrastructure
Energy
intensity
improvement
rate
ENERGY
EFFICIENCY
ELECTRIFICATION
HYDROGEN
CCS
AND
BECCS
29%
Investment needs
for energy
conservation and
efficiency
1493
USD billion/yr
1772
USD billion/yr
295
USD billion/yr
0.01
GtCO2 captured/yr
0.002
GtCO2 captured/yr
1.0
GtCO2 captured/yr
0.7
GtCO2 captured/yr
216
USD billion/yr
269
USD billion/yr
13USD
billion/yr
12EJ
0.6%/yr
2.9%/yr
3.5%/yr
30USD billion/yr
170
USD billion/yr
1.1 USD billion/yr
80 USD billion/yr
107
USD billion/yr
6.4 USD billion/yr 18 USD billion/yr
0.9EJ 4.3EJ
51%
40EJ
22%
10.5million 355million 2180million
364
USD billion/yr
141 USD billion/yr
518Mt/yr
21.4Mt/yr
0.7Mt/yr
5 722GW
0.5GW
2.4EJ
1)
1)
12)
14)
15)
29)
30)
31)
16)
17)
18)
22)
0.04EJ
23)
24)
25)
20)
13)
28)
258
USD billion/yr
19)
21)
26)
64
USD billion/yr
233GW
3.0 GtCO2 captured/yr
1.0
GtCO2 captured/yr
266
USD billion/yr
(contd.) TABLE 1 Tracking progress of key energy system components to achieve the 1.5°C scenario
10
Policy makers need to strike the right balance between reactive measures and proactive energy
transition strategies that promote a more resilient, inclusive and climate-safe system. Several of the
root causes of the current crises stem from the fossil fuel based energy system, such as overdependence on
a limited number of fuel exporters, inefficient and wasteful energy production and consumption, and the lack
of accounting for environmental costs. An energy transition based on renewables can reduce or eliminate
many of these. It is therefore the speed of the change that will determine the levels of energy security and
economic and social resilience at the national level and offer new opportunities for improved human welfare
globally.
More can be done in the short term. While the energy transition undoubtedly requires time, there is
significant potential to implement many of the available technology options today. Upward trends in the
deployment of these solutions demonstrate that the technical and economic case is sound. However,
comprehensive policies are needed across all sectors to ramp up deployment, as well as to instigate the
systemic and structural overhaul required to realise climate and development objectives.
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
Table 1 notes: [1] Average annual investments requirement to reach the 1.5°C target during the period 2023 -
2030 and 2023 - 2050 are shown in the investments rows under 2030 and 2050 respectively. All investment
figures for recent years are in current USD; the particulars of recent years used for the indicators are: [2] 2020;
[3] 2022; [4] 2022; [5] 2022; [6] 2022; [7] 2022; [8] 2020; [9] 2021; [10] 2020; [11] 2020; [12] 2020; [13] 2022;
[14] 2019; [15] 2021; [16] 2020; [17] 2022; [18] 2022; [19] 2022; [20] 2021; [21] 2022; [22] 2022; [23] 2021;
[24] 2022; [25] 2022; [26] 2022; [27] net capacity additions for 2030 and 2050 are excluding replacement
stock for end-of-life units; [28] future investments needed in renewables in end uses, district heating, biofuels
and bio-based innovative fuels; [29] future investments in energy conservation and efficiency include those in
bio-based plastics and organic materials, chemical and mechanical recycling and energy recovery; [30] future
investments needed in electrolysers, infrastructure, H2 stations, bunkering facilities and long-term storage;
[31] future demand includes energy and non-energy uses. CCS = carbon capture and storage; CCU = carbon
capture and use; BECCS = bioenergy, carbon capture and storage; EV = electric vehicle; RE = renewable
energy; yr = year; m2
= square meter; EJ = exajoule.
11
The Global Stocktake at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) must serve as
a catalyst for scaling up action over the following five years to implement existing energy transition
options. Whilst planning must provide room for innovation and additional policy action, a significant scale up
of existing solutions is paramount. For example, advancing efficiency and electrification based on renewables
is a cost-effective avenue for the power sector, as well as for transport and buildings. Clean hydrogen and its
derivatives, and sustainable biomass solutions, also offer various solutions for end uses.
Energy efficiency, electrification, grid expansion and flexibility measures must be prioritised in the
coming years. Energy efficiency in end-use sectors requires an average annual investment of USD 1.8 trillion
under the 1.5°C Scenario. Electrification of end-use sectors, hydrogen, direct use of renewables and district
heat will require an additional USD 0.75 trillion annually. Accelerated end-use sector electrification will need
to be combined with a continuous drive to grow renewable power capacity, with an allocation of some
USD1.3trillionannually.Thisgrowthrequirescommensurateelectricitynetworkexpansionandmodernisation,
at a cost of USD 0.5 trillion annually. By comparison, cumulative annual investment in fossil fuel supply and
power capacity in the same period would amount to USD 1 trillion, halving current trends.
The period following COP28 will be pivotal for efforts to curb climate change and achieve the
sustainable development goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda. The energy transition is crucial for delivering
on economic, social and environmental priorities. It is imperative for governments, financial institutions, and
the private sector to urgently re-evaluate their aspirations, strategies and implementation plans to realign the
energy transition with its intended trajectory (see Table 2).
COP28 needs to catalyse
a step change in actions
to accelerate the energy transition.
PREVIEW
12
TABLE 2 Short-term measures to deal with the energy crisis and
accelerate the energy transition
Ambition • Increase ambition of national renewable energy targets in line with climate goals,
increased energy security and improved affordability.
• Set ambitious renewable energy targets and energy efficiency targets in all end uses
(electricity, heating and cooling, transport).
• Develop effective implementation plans for all targets.
Institutions • Make institutions fit for the transition: (e.g. new ministerial structures, cross-ministry
task forces, updated statute for regulators).
• Reform the existing lending practices of development finance institutions by providing
more grants and concessional loans, particularly for countries that face under-
investment and may be in debt distress.
Physical
infrastructure
• Untertake integrated cross-sector infrastructure planning for the energy transition
with ambitious targets for expansion (e.g. power grids, electric vehicle [EV] charging
infrastructure, heat networks, all linked up to optimise variable renewable electricity).
• Provide incentives for infrastructure investments where market barriers exist (e.g. heat
networks, EV chargers).
• Streamline permitting procedures for large-scale infrastructure without compromising
environmental and social impact assessments and ensure public acceptance is fostered.
• Set obligations or mandatory targets for new buildings (e.g. numbers of EV chargers
per occupant, connection to heat networks).
• Provide more public finance for the development of the infrastructure required
(e.g. through direct ownership of assets such as transmission lines).
Jobs and skills • Integrate renewable energy into educational curricula; expand technical and vocational
education and training opportunities.
• Step up efforts to anticipate future occupational needs in each renewable energy sector
and work with industry associations and training institutions to align their planning.
• Ensure better access to training opportunities for women, youth and minorities.
• Develop pathways for fossil fuel industry workers to retrain and recertify for careers in
renewable energy. This will require public funding for training.
Finance • Increase and channel public financing – including through international collaboration
via a broad spectrum of policies, covering all segments of the renewable energy value
chain, the wider energy sector and the economy as a whole.
• Strategically plan, select and implement instruments to channel public finance
(domestic and international) including (1) government spending such as grants, rebates
and subsidies; (2) debt including existing and new issuances, credit instruments,
concessional/blended financing and guarantees; (3) equity and direct ownership of
assets (such as transmission lines or land to build projects).
• Define ‘risk’ in a more comprehensive way that goes beyond the narrow investor-centric
definition of risk (e.g. of investment in energy assets not paying off) to include broader
environmental and social risks.
• Continue to use public policy and finance to crowd in private capital.
continued
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
13
PREVIEW
(contd.) TABLE 2 Short-term measures to deal with the energy crisis and
accelerate the energy transition
Power sector • Adopt a power system structure that is conducive to high shares of variable renewable
energy, recognising their techno-economic characteristics. This could include dual
procurement of energy with long-term procurement through auctions and a short-term
flexibility market.
• Streamline permitting procedures for renewable power projects without compromising
environmental and social impact assessment. Ensure public acceptance is fostered.
• Better synchronise power grid expansion and other infrastructure developments with
renewable power deployment to avoid bottlenecks.
• Design renewable energy procurement processes (e.g. auctions) to serve objectives
beyond lowest price (e.g. development of local industry) and consider design elements
to distribute the risks of supply chain disruptions among stakeholders (e.g. indexation
of components).
• Design policies for self-consumption in a progressive way that supports equitable
access to support for the deployment of solutions and the distribution of socio-
economic benefits.
End-use sectors
– buildings,
industry,
transport
• Develop energy efficiency programmes and measures such as standards in transport,
industry, and buildings. Increase finance for energy efficiency through efforts to
aggregate projects and de-risk investment.
• Promote readiness for new fuels and electrification (e.g. EV chargers, see also Physical
Infrastructure).
• Behaviour changes: incentivise slower driving using speed limits, mandate room
temperature limits (e.g. offices and public buildings), reduce individual car usage by
promoting public transport and car-sharing; prefer high-speed and night trains to
aircraft where possible.
Cross-sector
and cross-
cutting policies
• Introduce fiscal policy measures: obligations for reinvesting windfall profits of fossil fuel
energy revenues in energy transition technologies, reduced subsidies for fossil fuels
and raised/newly introduced CO2 prices when fossil fuel prices fall. Ensure the socio-
economic benefits of such instruments are distributed fairly. Reform taxes and levies on
heating fuels, VAT exemptions for renewables, etc.
• Develop national bioenergy and/or hydrogen strategies (including sectoral
prioritisation) to ensure bioenergy and hydrogen can play the most appropriate role in
decarbonisation.
• Incentivise/mandate a circular economy approach (reduce, re-use, recycle), for example
for energy-intensive products like steel, renewable energy technologies, batteries, cars,
etc. This will both reduce energy demand and the demand for critical materials.
• Enhance international collaboration across a range of relevant areas including
sustainability governance, energy and climate finance, technology and innovation,
regional power grids, green hydrogen development.
• Put greater focus (including through international collaboration) on achieving the
universal access targets of SDG7.
14
A profound and systemic transformation of the global energy system must occur within 30 years. This
condensed timeframe necessitates a strategic shift that expands beyond the focus on decarbonisation of
supply toward designing an energy system that not only reduces carbon emissions but also supports a
resilient and inclusive global economy. As a result, planning needs to extend beyond borders and the narrow
confines of fuels to focus on the requirements of the new energy system and the economies it will sustain.
Focusing on the demand for clean energy and the enablers of a renewables-dominated system can help
address the structural barriers that hinder progress in the energy transition. Pursuing fuel and sectoral
mitigation measures is necessary but insufficient to transition to an energy system fit for the dominance
of renewables. From energy production and transportation to processing coal, oil and gas, the global
infrastructure dedicated to energy will need to change. This will have impacts on power generation, industrial
production and manufacturing, as well as on rail, pipelines, shipyards and other means of supplying fossil
fuels. Switching the focus from fuels to systems design will help accelerate the development of a new energy
infrastructure and sustain its implementation.
The energy transition can
support a move toward a more
resilient and equitable world.
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
DEVELOPING STRUCTURES
FOR A RENEWABLES-BASED
ENERGY SYSTEM
15
Governments can proactively shape a renewables-based energy system, overcome the flaws and
inefficiencies of current structures, and more effectively influence outcomes. The simultaneous,
proactive shaping of physical, policy and institutional structures will be essential to realising development
and climate objectives toward a more resilient and equitable world. These underpinnings should form the
pillars of the structure that supports the energy transition as follows:
PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: forward-looking planning, modernisation and expansion of
supporting infrastructure on land and sea to facilitate the development, storage, distribution and
transmission, and consumption of renewables. It should facilitate national, regional and global
strategies for new supply-demand dynamics and promote equity and inclusion.
POLICY AND REGULATORY ENABLERS: design of policy and regulatory frameworks that
facilitate deployment, integration and trade of renewables-based energy, shape socio-economic
outcomes and promote equality. These need to enable different levels of the energy transition,
from local to global, and account for new supply-demand dynamics.
WELL-SKILLED WORKFORCE: capacity among institutions, communities and individuals to
acquire the requisite skills, knowledge and expertise to drive and sustain the energy transition. An
integral aspect of this will be ensuring that communities are well informed of, and able to exercise,
their rights as critical transition stakeholders, and to harness its benefits.
Physical infrastructure upgrades, modernisation and expansion will increase resilience and build
flexibility for a diversified and interconnected energy system. Transmission and distribution will need to
accommodate both the highly localised, decentralised nature of many renewable fuels, as well as different
trade routes. Planning for interconnectors to enable electricity trade, and shipping routes for hydrogen and
derivatives, must consider vastly different global dynamics and proactively link countries to promote the
diversification and resilience of energy systems. Storage solutions will need to be widespread and designed
with geo-economic impacts in mind. Public acceptance is also critical for any large-scale undertaking and
can be secured through project transparency and opportunities for communities to voice their perspectives.
Policy and regulatory enablers must systematically prioritise the acceleration of the energy transition
and a reduction in the role of fossil fuels. Today, the underlying policy and regulatory systems remain
shaped around fossil fuels. While it is inevitable that fossil fuels will remain in the energy mix for some time,
their share must dramatically decrease as we approach mid-century. Policy frameworks and markets should
therefore focus on accelerating the transition and provide the essential underpinnings for a resilient and
inclusive system.
A well-skilled workforce is a lynchpin of a successful energy transition. Work by IRENA and the
International Labour Organization (ILO) has shown that the renewable energy sector employed some 12.7
million people worldwide as of 2022, growing from about 7.3 million in 2012. Energy transition modelling
indicates that tens of millions of additional jobs will likely be created in the coming decades as investments
grow and installed capacities expand. A broad range of occupational profiles will be needed. Filling these
jobs will require concerted action in education and skills building, and governments have a critical role in
co-ordinating efforts to align the offerings of the educational sector with projected industry needs - whether
in the form of vocational training or university courses. To attract talent to the sector, it is crucial that jobs are
decent, and that women, youth and minorities have equal access to job training, hiring networks and career
opportunities.
PREVIEW
16
Net-zero commitments must be embedded in legislation and translated into implementation plans
that are adequately resourced. Without this crucial step, climate announcements remain aspirational,
and the necessary progress out of reach. The current energy system is deeply woven into socio-economic
structures that have evolved over centuries. This means significant structural change must occur in a
condensed timeframe of less than three decades to successfully deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Energy infrastructure is long-lived, so investment in fixed infrastructure should consider the long
term. Every investment and planning decision around energy infrastructure today should consider the
structure and geography of the low-carbon economy of the future. Electrification of end uses will reshape
demand. Renewable power will require existing infrastructure to be modernised, with grid reinforcement
and expansion on both land and sea. Green hydrogen production will also occur in locations other than
today’s oil and gas fields. The technical challenges and economic costs of redesigning infrastructure should
be accounted for, and the environmental and social aspects adequately addressed from the outset.
Energy investment decisions should simultaneously drive the transition and reduce the risk of stranded
assets. The Planned Energy Scenario foresees cumulative energy sector-wide investments of USD 103 trillion
between 2023 and 2050, or USD 3.7 trillion annually, on average, to 2050. Around 59% of this investment
is intended for energy transition technologies - mostly for renewables, energy efficiency, electrification,
hydrogen, and carbon removals. However, some 41% of planned energy investment remains aimed at fossil
fuels; therefore, a combination of scale-up and re-allocation of investment in energy transition technologies
is needed to keep the 1.5°C target within reach.
The 1.5°C Scenario envisages electricity becoming the main energy carrier, accounting for over 50% of
total final energy consumption (see Figure 3). Renewable energy deployment, improvements in energy
efficiency and the electrification of end-use sectors contribute to this shift. In addition, modern biomass and
hydrogen are projected to play more significant roles, with 16% and 14% of total final energy consumption by
2050, respectively. Notably, 94% of hydrogen consumption is expected to come from renewables, indicating
a growing reliance on clean energy sources. The pathway also suggests that total final energy consumption
could decrease by 15% from 2020 to 2050, potentially indicating a trend towards decarbonisation and a more
sustainable energy future.
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
THE WAY FORWARD
PRIORITISING BOLD AND
TRANSFORMATIVE ACTIONS
17
PREVIEW
FIGURE 3 Breakdown of total final energy consumption by energy carrier between
2020 and 2050 under the 1.5°C Scenario
TFEC (%)
2020 2050: Where we need to be (1.5°C Scenario)
417EJ Total final energy consumption 353EJ Total final energy consumption
20%
Electricity
(direct)
51%
Electricity
(direct)
1% 4%
9%
Traditional uses
of biomass
66%
Fossil fuels
16%
Modern biomass uses
14%
Hydrogen
(direct use
and e-fuels)*
7%
Others
Fossil
fuels
12%
Modern
biomass
uses
Others
Renewable share
in hydrogen
94%
91%
Renewable share in electricity
28%
Renewable share in electricity
Notes: The figures above include only energy consumption, excluding non-energy uses. For electricity use, 28%
in 2020 and 91% in 2050 are sourced from renewable sources; for district heating, the shares are 7% and 95%,
respectively; for hydrogen (direct use and e-fuels), the renewable energy share (i.e. green hydrogen) would reach
94% by 2050. The category Hydrogen (direct use and e-fuels) accounts for total hydrogen consumption (green and
blue) and other e-fuels (e-ammonia and e-methanol). Electricity (direct) includes the consumption of electricity that
is provided by all sources of generation: renewable, nuclear and fossil fuel based. Traditional uses of biomass refer to
the residential TFEC of solid biofuels in non-OECD countries. Modern bioenergy uses include solid biomass, biogas
and biomethane used in buildings and industry; and liquid biofuels used mainly in transport, but also in buildings,
industry and other final consumption. Remaining fossil fuels in 2050 correspond to natural gas (mainly used in
industry and transport, and to a lesser extent in buildings), oil (mainly in industry and transport, and to a lesser
extent in buildings) and coal (corresponds to uses in industry - cement, chemicals, iron and steel). Others include
district heat and other renewables consumption. EJ = exajoule; OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development; TFEC = total final energy consumption.
18
The share of renewable energy in the world's primary energy supply grows from 16% in 2020 to 77%
in 2050 under the 1.5°C Scenario, requiring an annual growth rate thirteen times the current rate
(Figure 4). This growth is expected to stabilise primary energy supply due to increased energy efficiency
and the growth of renewables. The energy mix will change drastically in the process, with a net gain of
61 percentage points of renewable energy share, driven by a mix of end-use electrification, renewable fuels
and direct use. Achieving this level of renewable energy penetration is critical to meeting global climate goals
and will require significant investment and policy support, as well as continued innovation.
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
FIGURE 4 Total primary energy supply by energy carrier group,
2020-2050 under the 1.5°C Scenario
2020 2050
2045
2040
2035
2030
TPES
(EJ/yr)
800
600
400
200
0
700
Renewables Nuclear Fossil fuels
Where we need to be (1.5°C Scenario)
-63p.p.
-63p.p.
79%
79%
5%
5%
6%
6%
6%
6%
6%
6%
6%
6%
7%
7%
16%
16%
34%
34%
47%
47%
59%
59%
69%
69%
77%
77%
60%
60% 47%
47% 35%
35% 25%
25%
16%
16%
+61p.p.
+61p.p.
Note: Renewables include bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind in all forms (electricity and synthetic
fuels). Fossil fuels include coal, oil and natural gas; p.p. = percentage points.
19
Electricity generation will more than triple from 2020 to 2050, with 91% of the total electricity supply
coming from renewable sources, compared to 28% in 2020 (see Figure 5). Coal- and oil-based power
generation will experience a sharp decline over the decade before being phased out entirely by mid-century.
By 2050, natural gas will provide 5% of total electricity needs, with the remainder being met by nuclear
power plants. The transition features an important synergy between increasingly affordable renewable
power technologies and the wider adoption of electric technologies for end-use applications, especially in
transport and heat.
By 2050, most of the
world's power will be generated
from renewable sources.
PREVIEW
FIGURE 5 Power generation needs to more than triple by 2050
Fossil fuels
Fossil fuels
Renewables
Renewables
Nuclear
Nuclear
62%
62% 10%
10%
5%
5%
4%
4%
28%
28%
91%
91%
27.0
PWh
89.8
PWh
2020 2050: Where we need to be (1.5-S)
Gross electricity generation (PWh) Gross electricity generation (PWh)
Notes: PWh = petawatt hours.
20
Public investment strategies play a critical role in accelerating the speed of the energy transition.
Such investments need to not only increase in volume, but also be allocated strategically to guide private
investment decisions and serve as an effective instrument to shape the energy transition in ways that
maximise benefits in the public interest. In addition, public procurement programmes are best placed to set
standards so that energy projects adhere to labour standards and environmental safeguards.
Stronger public sector intervention is required to channel investments towards countries and
technologies in a more equitable way. Some 75% of global investment in renewables from 2013 to 2020
came from the private sector; but private capital tends to flow to the technologies and countries with
the least associated risks, be they real or perceived. In 2020, 83% of commitments in solar PV came from
private finance, whereas geothermal and hydropower relied primarily on public finance - only 32% and 3% of
investments in these technologies, respectively, came from private investors in 2020 (IRENA & CPI, 2023).
The greater need for public finance in hydropower is linked to large upfront investments, high construction
risks, the need for long-tenor loans (as projects can take over a decade to complete), complex and lengthy
permitting procedures, and high social and environmental risks, all of which can significantly hamper the
ability of the private sector to finance large hydropower projects (IRENA, 2023b). For geothermal, meanwhile,
the high costs of surface exploration and drilling represent the main obstacles to private sector financing.
Publicfinanceandpolicyshouldcontinuetobeusedtocrowdinprivatecapital,butgreatergeographical
and technological diversity of investment requires targeted and scaled-up public contributions. For
many years, policy has focused on mobilising private capital. Public funding is urgently needed to invest in
basic energy infrastructure in the developing world, as well as to drive deployment in less mature technologies
(especially in end uses such as heating and transport, or synthetic fuel production) and in areas where private
investors seldom venture. Otherwise, the gap in investment between the Global North and the Global South
will continue to widen. In 2015, renewable energy investment per capita in North America (excluding Mexico)
and Europe was around 22 times higher than in Sub-Saharan Africa. But by 2021, investment per capita in
Europe had risen to 41 times that in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in North America it was 57 times more (see
Figure 6). This is partly explained by the fact that Sub-Saharan Africa investment per capita in 2021 had fallen
to almost half its 2015 value of USD 6 per person (IRENA and CPI, 2023).
Public financing has a critical
role to play to help achieve a just
and inclusive energy transition.
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
21
A just and inclusive energy transition will help to overcome deep disparities that affect the quality of
life of hundreds of millions of people. Energy transition policies must be aligned with broader systemic
changes that aim to safeguard human well-being, advance equity among countries and communities, and
bring the global economy in line with climate, broader environmental and resource constraints.
Supporting developing countries to accelerate the energy transition could improve energy security
while preventing the global decarbonisation divide from widening. A diverse energy market would reduce
supply chain risks, improve energy security and ensure local value creation for commodity producers. Access
to technology, training, capacity building and affordable finance will be vital to unlock the full potential of
countries’ contributions to the global energy transition, especially for those rich in renewables and related
resources.
Human welfare and security must remain at the heart of the energy transition. Systemic changes beyond
the energy sector will be needed to overcome pervasive problems related to human welfare and security, as
well as deeply embedded inequalities; a renewables-based energy transition can help alleviate some of the
conditions that underly these issues. The more the energy transition can help solve these broad challenges,
the more its popular acceptance and legitimacy will rise, provided also that community needs and interests
are well represented and integrated into transition planning.
PREVIEW
FIGURE 6 Growing disparities in per capita investment between Sub-Saharan Africa,
Europe and North America
Investment
in renewable energy
per capita Sub-Saharan Africa Europe
North America
(excluding Mexico)
Investment
in renewable energy
per capita Sub-Saharan Africa Europe
North America
(excluding Mexico)
2015
2021
22
times
41
times
23
times
57
times
2015
2021
22
times
127
times
23
times
179
times
22
To achieve a successful energy transition, international co-operation needs to be enhanced and
redesigned. The centrality of energy to the global development and climate agenda is undisputed, and
international co-operation in energy has increased exponentially in recent years. This co-operation plays
a decisive role in determining the outcomes of the energy transition and is a critical avenue for achieving
greater resilience, inclusion and equality. The dynamism of energy sectors and geopolitical developments
necessitates greater scrutiny of international co-operation modalities, instruments and approaches to ensure
their relevance, impact and agility.
The expanding variety of actors in the energy transition requires an assessment of roles to leverage
respective strengths and efficiently allocate limited public resources. The imperatives of development
and climate action, coupled with changing energy supply and demand dynamics, require coherence and
alignment around priority actions. For instance, investment in systems for cross-border and global trade of
energycommoditieswillrequireinternationalco-operationatanunprecedentedscale.Itis,therefore,essential
to reconsider the roles and responsibilities of national and regional entities, international organisations, and
international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to ensure their optimal contribution
to the energy transition.
Achieving the energy transition will require collective efforts to channel funds to the Global South.
In 2020, multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions (DFIs) provided less than 3% of total
renewable energy investments. Going forward, they need to direct more funds, at better terms, towards
large-scale energy transition projects. Moreover, financing from DFIs was provided mainly through debt
financing at market rates (requiring repayment with interest rates charged at market value) while grants
and concessional loans amounted to just 1% of total renewable energy finance (IRENA & CPI, 2023). These
institutions are uniquely placed to support large-scale and cross-border projects that can make a notable
difference in accelerating the global energy transition.
REWRITING INTERNATIONAL
CO-OPERATION
WORLD ENERGY
TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
23
1.5°C Scenario
REFERENCES
ESMAP (2022), Mini Grids for Half a Billion People: Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers,
World Bank, Washington, D.C., https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/entities/publication/b53273b6-
b19a-578e-8949-8dc5c7a3cd79
ESMAP, et al. (2022), Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: Outlook, World Bank,
Washington, D.C., https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/099355110142233755/pdf/
P17515005a7f550f1090130cf1b9f2b671e.pdf
IPCC (2022), "Summary for Policymakers", Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution
of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, 10.1017/9781009157926.001
IRENA (2022), Renewable energy targets in 2022: A guide to design, International Renewable Energy
Agency, Abu Dhabi, www.irena.org/Publications/2022/Nov/Renewable-energy-targets-in-2022
IRENA (2023a), Renewable capacity statistics 2023, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi,
www.irena.org/Publications/2023/Mar/Renewable-capacity-statistics-2023
IRENA (2023b), The changing role of hydropower: Challenges and opportunities, International Renewable
Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi, www.irena.org/Publications/2023/Feb/The-changing-role-of-hydropower-
Challenges-and-opportunities
IRENA and CPI (2023), Global landscape of renewable energy finance 2023, International Renewable Energy
Agency and Climate Policy Initiative, Abu Dhabi, www.irena.org/Publications/2023/Feb/Global-landscape-
of-renewable-energy-finance-2023
The World Energy Transitions Outlook outlines a vision for the transition of the energy landscape to reflect the
goals of the Paris Agreement, presenting a pathway for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and bringing
CO2 emissions to net zero by mid-century.
This preview presents high-level insights from the forthcoming 2023 report, which builds on two of IRENA’s
key scenarios to capture global progress toward meeting the 1.5°C climate goal.
The Planned Energy Scenario is the primary
reference case for this study, providing a
perspective on energy system developments
based on governments’ energy plans and
other planned targets and policies in place
at the time of analysis with a focus on G20
countries.
The 1.5°C Scenario describes an energy
transition pathway aligned with the 1.5°C
climate goal – that is, to limit global average
temperature increase by the end of the
present century to 1.5°C, relative to pre-
industrial levels. It prioritises readily available
technology solutions, which can be scaled up
at the necessary pace to meet the 1.5°C goal.
1.5°C Scenario
Planned Energy Scenario
PREVIEW
www.irena.org

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IRENA : World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023

  • 2. ABOUT IRENA The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) serves as the principal platform for international co-operation,acentreofexcellence,arepositoryofpolicy,technology,resourceandfinancialknowledge, and a driver of action on the ground to advance the transformation of the global energy system. A global intergovernmental organisation established in 2011, IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security, and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. www.irena.org © IRENA 2023 Unless otherwise stated, material in this publication may be freely used, shared, copied, reproduced, printed and/or stored, provided that appropriate acknowledgement is given of IRENA as the source and copyright holder. Material in this publication that is attributed to third parties may be subject to separate terms of use and restrictions, and appropriate permissions from these third parties may need to be secured before any use of such material. ISBN: 978-92-9260-527-8 CITATION This publication is a preview of the forthcoming report, IRENA (2023), World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023: 1.5°C Pathway, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi. Available for download: www.irena.org/publications For further information or to provide feedback: publications@irena.org The data presented herein is accurate at the time of publication. Modelling results may change ahead of the launch of the full report. DISCLAIMER This publication and the material herein are provided “as is”. All reasonable precautions have been taken by IRENA to verify the reliability of the material in this publication. However, neither IRENA nor any of its officials, agents, data or other third-party content providers, provides a warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, and they accept no responsibility or liability for any consequence of use of the publication or material herein. The information contained herein does not necessarily represent the views of all Members of IRENA. The mention of specific companies or certain projects or products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by IRENA in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. The designations employed, and the presentation of material herein, do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of IRENA concerning the legal status of any region, country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of frontiers or boundaries.
  • 3. PREVIEW WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023 Francesco La Camera Director-General, IRENA MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL The recent Synthesis Report of the IPCC Sixth Assessment has delivered a sobering message - one that leaves little ambiguity as to the need for immediate action. This decade, our success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions will determine whether global temperature rise can be limited to 1.5°C or even 2°C. Within this timeframe, the only realistic option available is a considerable scale-up of renewable energy and efficiency solutions. The International Renewable Energy Agency’s 1.5°C pathway positions electrification and efficiency as key transition drivers, enabled by renewable energy, clean hydrogen and sustainable biomass. This preview of the World Energy Transitions Outlook provides an overview of the progress achieved in developing and implementing these technological avenues. It shows that the scale and extent of the change achieved in all sectors to date fall far short of what is required to stay on the 1.5°C pathway. Most of the progress so far has been made in the power sector, where advances in technology, policy and innovation have taken us a long way. Current energy structures were designed to support fossil fuels and must be re-designed to support renewable energy systems. The emphasis must shift from supply to demand, toward overcoming the structural obstacles that impede progress. This preview outlines three priority pillars - physical infrastructure; policy and regulatory enablers; and a well-skilled workforce - that must be addressed simultaneously, requiring significant investment and a new paradigm for international co-operation in which all actors can engage in the transition and play an optimal role. There is no time for a new energy system to evolve gradually over more than a century - as was the case for the fossil fuel-based system. We simply cannot continue with incremental changes if we are to achieve the necessary reductions in carbon emissions to meet climate goals. The Global Stocktake concluding at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates presents the opportunity to assess requirements and determine the best path to rapid, lasting change. To this end, the forthcoming World Energy Transitions Outlook will provide a comprehensive assessment of the energy transition and propose effective ways to accelerate progress following this important climate action milestone.
  • 4. 4 The energy transition is off-track. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ripple effects of the Ukraine crisis have further compounded the challenges facing the transition. The stakes could not be higher - every fraction of a degree in global temperature change can trigger significant and far-reaching consequences on natural systems, human societies and economies. Achieving the necessary course- correction in the energy transition will require bold, transformative measures that reflect the urgency of the present situation. Current pledges and plans fall well short of IRENA’s 1.5°C pathway and will result in an emissions gap of 16 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2050. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDs) and net-zero targets, if fully implemented, could reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 6% by 2030 and 56% by 2050, compared to 2022 levels. However, most climate pledges are yet to be translated into detailed national strategies and plans, implemented through policies and regulations, or supported with sufficient funding. According to IRENA's Planned Energy Scenario,1 the emissions gap is projected to reach 35 Gt by 2050, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive action to accelerate the transition.2 Although global investment across all energy transition technologies reached a record high of USD 1.3 trillion in 2022, annual investment must more than quadruple to remain on the 1.5°C pathway. A cumulative USD 150 trillion is required to realise the 1.5°C target by 2050 (Figure 1), averaging over USD 5 trillion in annual terms. Compared with the Planned Energy Scenario - under which a cumulative investment of USD 103 trillion is required - an additional USD 47 trillion in cumulative investment is required by 2050 to remain on the 1.5°C pathway. Around USD 1 trillion of annual investments in fossil fuel based technologies currently envisaged in the Planned Energy Scenario must therefore be redirected towards energy transition technologies and infrastructure. Cumulative investments between now and 2030 need to total USD 44 trillion, with energy transition technologies representing 80% of the investment, or USD 35 trillion. Total cumulative energy sector investments in the Planned Energy Scenario until 2030 are USD 29 trillion. An additional cumulative investment of USD 15 trillion - or an annual average investment of USD 1.9 billion - would be needed in the 1.5°C Scenario until 2030. Furthermore, a change in the volume and type of investments is required under the 1.5°C Scenario to prioritise the energy transition and set the stage for a dramatic decrease in the fossil fuel share by 2050 (Figure 1). 1 For a brief overview of the two scenarios employed in the World Energy Transitions Outlook, see inside rear cover, page 23. 2 The present IRENA scenarios include CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, waste incineration and industrial processes. COP announcements reflected in Nationally Determined Contributions [NDCs] as of 5 November 2022, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies [LT-LEDs] and net-zero targets as of 5 October 2022 also include land-use emissions. KEY MESSAGES WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
  • 5. 5 Annual investments across all energy transition technologies must more than quadruple to remain on the 1.5°C pathway. PREVIEW FIGURE 1 Total investment by technological avenue from 2023 to 2050 for achieving the 1.5°C Scenario Planned Energy Scenario 1.5°C Scenario 2023-2050 2023 -2050 Power grids and energy flexibility Carbon removal, capture and storage measures – CCS and BECCS (incl. transport and storage) Electrification in end uses Energy conservation and efficiency Fossil fuels and nuclear - power Fossil fuel - supply Renewables - direct uses and district heat 150 120 90 60 30 0 Hydrogen and its derivatives (incl. infrastructure) Renewables - power generation USD +47 trillion or +1.7 trillion per year Cumulative energy sector investments, 2023 -2050 (USD trillion) USD103trillion USD150trillion Notes: CCS = carbon capture and storage; BECCS = bioenergy, carbon capture and storage.
  • 6. 6 Existing renewable power targets would increase total renewable power capacity to 5.4 terawatts (TW) by 2030, representing less than half of the 11.2 TW needed for a 1.5°C pathway. There is significant scope for aligning and strengthening targets in the short term to provide policy clarity and certainty. In many cases, targets in national energy plans are yet to be aligned with those in NDCs. In addition, targets should be measurable and cover end uses beyond power. Of the 183 Parties with renewable energy components in their NDCs, only 143 had a quantified target - 108 for power and 31 for heating and cooling, transport or cooking (IRENA, 2022). Some progress is being made, notably in the power sector, with renewables representing 83% of capacity additions and reaching 40% of installed power generation globally in 2022. A total of 295 gigawatts (GW) of renewables was added worldwide in 2022, the largest-ever annual increase in renewable energy capacity (IRENA, 2023a). The strong business case for renewables, coupled with supportive enabling policies, has sustained an upward trend in their share of the global energy mix. However, overall deployment remains centred on a limited number of counties and regions, with China, the European Union and the United States accounting for 75% of capacity additions. Although large-scale deployments of renewable energy are typically associated with countries that have well-developed power systems, it is essential to expand deployment elsewhere, especially in developing nations that lack access to electricity. FIGURE 2 Annual power capacity expansion, 2002-2022 New capacity non-renewables (GW) New capacity renewables (GW) Annual capacity installations (GW 2014 2002 2016 2010 2018 2006 2004 2012 2008 2020 2022 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 240 210 180 150 120 90 60 30 0 Share of new electricity generating capacity New capacity renewable share (%) Renewables share in new capacity Annual capacity installations (GW/yr) 2014 2002 2016 2010 2018 2006 2004 2012 2008 2020 2022 50% 15% 59% 37% 57% 23% 28% 52% 38% 82% 83% 300 225 150 75 0 New capacity non-renewables (GW) New capacity renewables (GW) WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
  • 7. 7 More investments need to flow into developing and emerging markets to make the energy transition more inclusive. Renewable energy investment remains concentrated in a limited number of countries and focused on only a few technologies. Investment in renewables reached USD 0.5 trillion in 2022; however, this is less than one-third of the average investment needed each year in renewables under the 1.5°C Scenario. Furthermore, in 2022, 85% of global renewable energy investment benefitted less than 50% of the world’s population and Africa accounted for only 1% of additional capacity in 2022 (IRENA and CPI, 2023; IRENA, 2023a). Investments in off-grid renewable energy solutions in 2021 amounted to USD 0.5 billion (IRENA and CPI, 2023), far below the USD 15 billion needed annually to 2030. While many technology choices exist, most investments were in solar PV and wind power, with 95% channelled toward these technologies (IRENA et al., 2023). Greater volumes of funding need to flow to other energy transition technologies such as biofuels, hydropower and geothermal energy, as well as to sectors beyond power that have lower shares of renewables in total final energy consumption (e.g. heating and transport). Every year, the gap between what is required and what is implemented continues to grow. IRENA’s energy transition indicators (see Table 1) show significant acceleration is needed across energy sectors and technologies, from deeper end-use electrification of transport and heat, to direct renewable use, energy efficiency and infrastructure additions. Delays only add to the already considerable challenge of meeting IPCC-defined emission reduction levels in 2030 and 2050 for a 1.5°C trajectory (IPCC, 2022). The lack of progress will also increase future investment needs and the costs of worsening climate change effects. PREVIEW
  • 8. 8 WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023 Indicators Recent years 2050 Progress (Off / on track) 2030 Indicators Recent years 2050 Progress (Off / on track) 2030 Share of renewables in electricity generation Renewable power capacity additions Annual solar PV additions Annual wind energy additions Investment needs for RE generation ELECTRIFICATION WITH RENEWABLES continued Share of renewables in final energy consumption Solar thermal collector area Modern use of bioenergy (direct use) Geothermal consumption (direct use) Renewables based district heat generation Investment needs for renewables end uses and district heat DIRECT RENEWABLES IN END-USES AND DISTRICT HEAT Investment needs for power grids and flexibility Energy intensity improvement RENEWABLES Y 28% 91% 67% 34% 295GW/yr 975GW/yr 1066GW/yr 191GW/yr 551GW/yr 615GW/yr 75GW/yr 329GW/yr 335GW/yr 1382 USD billion/yr 1300 USD billion/yr 486 USD billion/yr 216 USD billion/yr 269 USD billion/yr 13USD billion/yr 790 USD billion/yr 548 USD billion/yr 274 USD billion/yr 19% 83% 746million m2 /yr 3700million m2 /yr 1.5EJ 56EJ 44EJ 2.2EJ 12EJ 1700million m2 /yr 0.6%/yr 3.5%/yr 0.4EJ 0.9EJ 4.3EJ 1.3EJ 2) 3) 1) 1) 1) 1) 4) 5) 6) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 14) 13) 28) 27) 27) 27) 7) TABLE 1 Tracking progress of key energy system components to achieve the 1.5°C scenario
  • 9. 9 PREVIEW Indicators Recent years 2050 Progress (Off / on track) 2030 continued Notes: see next page Renewables based district heat generation Investment needs for renewables end uses and district heat Share of direct electricity in final energy consumption Passenger electric cars on the road Investments needs for charging infrastructure of EV's and EV adoption support Investment needs for heat pumps Clean hydrogen production Electrolyser capacity Investment needs for clean hydrogen and derivatives infrastructure Clean hydrogen consumption - industry CCS/CCU to abate emissions in industry BECCS and others to abate emissions in industry Investment needs for carbon removal and infrastructure Energy intensity improvement rate ENERGY EFFICIENCY ELECTRIFICATION HYDROGEN CCS AND BECCS 29% Investment needs for energy conservation and efficiency 1493 USD billion/yr 1772 USD billion/yr 295 USD billion/yr 0.01 GtCO2 captured/yr 0.002 GtCO2 captured/yr 1.0 GtCO2 captured/yr 0.7 GtCO2 captured/yr 216 USD billion/yr 269 USD billion/yr 13USD billion/yr 12EJ 0.6%/yr 2.9%/yr 3.5%/yr 30USD billion/yr 170 USD billion/yr 1.1 USD billion/yr 80 USD billion/yr 107 USD billion/yr 6.4 USD billion/yr 18 USD billion/yr 0.9EJ 4.3EJ 51% 40EJ 22% 10.5million 355million 2180million 364 USD billion/yr 141 USD billion/yr 518Mt/yr 21.4Mt/yr 0.7Mt/yr 5 722GW 0.5GW 2.4EJ 1) 1) 12) 14) 15) 29) 30) 31) 16) 17) 18) 22) 0.04EJ 23) 24) 25) 20) 13) 28) 258 USD billion/yr 19) 21) 26) 64 USD billion/yr 233GW 3.0 GtCO2 captured/yr 1.0 GtCO2 captured/yr 266 USD billion/yr (contd.) TABLE 1 Tracking progress of key energy system components to achieve the 1.5°C scenario
  • 10. 10 Policy makers need to strike the right balance between reactive measures and proactive energy transition strategies that promote a more resilient, inclusive and climate-safe system. Several of the root causes of the current crises stem from the fossil fuel based energy system, such as overdependence on a limited number of fuel exporters, inefficient and wasteful energy production and consumption, and the lack of accounting for environmental costs. An energy transition based on renewables can reduce or eliminate many of these. It is therefore the speed of the change that will determine the levels of energy security and economic and social resilience at the national level and offer new opportunities for improved human welfare globally. More can be done in the short term. While the energy transition undoubtedly requires time, there is significant potential to implement many of the available technology options today. Upward trends in the deployment of these solutions demonstrate that the technical and economic case is sound. However, comprehensive policies are needed across all sectors to ramp up deployment, as well as to instigate the systemic and structural overhaul required to realise climate and development objectives. WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023 Table 1 notes: [1] Average annual investments requirement to reach the 1.5°C target during the period 2023 - 2030 and 2023 - 2050 are shown in the investments rows under 2030 and 2050 respectively. All investment figures for recent years are in current USD; the particulars of recent years used for the indicators are: [2] 2020; [3] 2022; [4] 2022; [5] 2022; [6] 2022; [7] 2022; [8] 2020; [9] 2021; [10] 2020; [11] 2020; [12] 2020; [13] 2022; [14] 2019; [15] 2021; [16] 2020; [17] 2022; [18] 2022; [19] 2022; [20] 2021; [21] 2022; [22] 2022; [23] 2021; [24] 2022; [25] 2022; [26] 2022; [27] net capacity additions for 2030 and 2050 are excluding replacement stock for end-of-life units; [28] future investments needed in renewables in end uses, district heating, biofuels and bio-based innovative fuels; [29] future investments in energy conservation and efficiency include those in bio-based plastics and organic materials, chemical and mechanical recycling and energy recovery; [30] future investments needed in electrolysers, infrastructure, H2 stations, bunkering facilities and long-term storage; [31] future demand includes energy and non-energy uses. CCS = carbon capture and storage; CCU = carbon capture and use; BECCS = bioenergy, carbon capture and storage; EV = electric vehicle; RE = renewable energy; yr = year; m2 = square meter; EJ = exajoule.
  • 11. 11 The Global Stocktake at the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) must serve as a catalyst for scaling up action over the following five years to implement existing energy transition options. Whilst planning must provide room for innovation and additional policy action, a significant scale up of existing solutions is paramount. For example, advancing efficiency and electrification based on renewables is a cost-effective avenue for the power sector, as well as for transport and buildings. Clean hydrogen and its derivatives, and sustainable biomass solutions, also offer various solutions for end uses. Energy efficiency, electrification, grid expansion and flexibility measures must be prioritised in the coming years. Energy efficiency in end-use sectors requires an average annual investment of USD 1.8 trillion under the 1.5°C Scenario. Electrification of end-use sectors, hydrogen, direct use of renewables and district heat will require an additional USD 0.75 trillion annually. Accelerated end-use sector electrification will need to be combined with a continuous drive to grow renewable power capacity, with an allocation of some USD1.3trillionannually.Thisgrowthrequirescommensurateelectricitynetworkexpansionandmodernisation, at a cost of USD 0.5 trillion annually. By comparison, cumulative annual investment in fossil fuel supply and power capacity in the same period would amount to USD 1 trillion, halving current trends. The period following COP28 will be pivotal for efforts to curb climate change and achieve the sustainable development goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda. The energy transition is crucial for delivering on economic, social and environmental priorities. It is imperative for governments, financial institutions, and the private sector to urgently re-evaluate their aspirations, strategies and implementation plans to realign the energy transition with its intended trajectory (see Table 2). COP28 needs to catalyse a step change in actions to accelerate the energy transition. PREVIEW
  • 12. 12 TABLE 2 Short-term measures to deal with the energy crisis and accelerate the energy transition Ambition • Increase ambition of national renewable energy targets in line with climate goals, increased energy security and improved affordability. • Set ambitious renewable energy targets and energy efficiency targets in all end uses (electricity, heating and cooling, transport). • Develop effective implementation plans for all targets. Institutions • Make institutions fit for the transition: (e.g. new ministerial structures, cross-ministry task forces, updated statute for regulators). • Reform the existing lending practices of development finance institutions by providing more grants and concessional loans, particularly for countries that face under- investment and may be in debt distress. Physical infrastructure • Untertake integrated cross-sector infrastructure planning for the energy transition with ambitious targets for expansion (e.g. power grids, electric vehicle [EV] charging infrastructure, heat networks, all linked up to optimise variable renewable electricity). • Provide incentives for infrastructure investments where market barriers exist (e.g. heat networks, EV chargers). • Streamline permitting procedures for large-scale infrastructure without compromising environmental and social impact assessments and ensure public acceptance is fostered. • Set obligations or mandatory targets for new buildings (e.g. numbers of EV chargers per occupant, connection to heat networks). • Provide more public finance for the development of the infrastructure required (e.g. through direct ownership of assets such as transmission lines). Jobs and skills • Integrate renewable energy into educational curricula; expand technical and vocational education and training opportunities. • Step up efforts to anticipate future occupational needs in each renewable energy sector and work with industry associations and training institutions to align their planning. • Ensure better access to training opportunities for women, youth and minorities. • Develop pathways for fossil fuel industry workers to retrain and recertify for careers in renewable energy. This will require public funding for training. Finance • Increase and channel public financing – including through international collaboration via a broad spectrum of policies, covering all segments of the renewable energy value chain, the wider energy sector and the economy as a whole. • Strategically plan, select and implement instruments to channel public finance (domestic and international) including (1) government spending such as grants, rebates and subsidies; (2) debt including existing and new issuances, credit instruments, concessional/blended financing and guarantees; (3) equity and direct ownership of assets (such as transmission lines or land to build projects). • Define ‘risk’ in a more comprehensive way that goes beyond the narrow investor-centric definition of risk (e.g. of investment in energy assets not paying off) to include broader environmental and social risks. • Continue to use public policy and finance to crowd in private capital. continued WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
  • 13. 13 PREVIEW (contd.) TABLE 2 Short-term measures to deal with the energy crisis and accelerate the energy transition Power sector • Adopt a power system structure that is conducive to high shares of variable renewable energy, recognising their techno-economic characteristics. This could include dual procurement of energy with long-term procurement through auctions and a short-term flexibility market. • Streamline permitting procedures for renewable power projects without compromising environmental and social impact assessment. Ensure public acceptance is fostered. • Better synchronise power grid expansion and other infrastructure developments with renewable power deployment to avoid bottlenecks. • Design renewable energy procurement processes (e.g. auctions) to serve objectives beyond lowest price (e.g. development of local industry) and consider design elements to distribute the risks of supply chain disruptions among stakeholders (e.g. indexation of components). • Design policies for self-consumption in a progressive way that supports equitable access to support for the deployment of solutions and the distribution of socio- economic benefits. End-use sectors – buildings, industry, transport • Develop energy efficiency programmes and measures such as standards in transport, industry, and buildings. Increase finance for energy efficiency through efforts to aggregate projects and de-risk investment. • Promote readiness for new fuels and electrification (e.g. EV chargers, see also Physical Infrastructure). • Behaviour changes: incentivise slower driving using speed limits, mandate room temperature limits (e.g. offices and public buildings), reduce individual car usage by promoting public transport and car-sharing; prefer high-speed and night trains to aircraft where possible. Cross-sector and cross- cutting policies • Introduce fiscal policy measures: obligations for reinvesting windfall profits of fossil fuel energy revenues in energy transition technologies, reduced subsidies for fossil fuels and raised/newly introduced CO2 prices when fossil fuel prices fall. Ensure the socio- economic benefits of such instruments are distributed fairly. Reform taxes and levies on heating fuels, VAT exemptions for renewables, etc. • Develop national bioenergy and/or hydrogen strategies (including sectoral prioritisation) to ensure bioenergy and hydrogen can play the most appropriate role in decarbonisation. • Incentivise/mandate a circular economy approach (reduce, re-use, recycle), for example for energy-intensive products like steel, renewable energy technologies, batteries, cars, etc. This will both reduce energy demand and the demand for critical materials. • Enhance international collaboration across a range of relevant areas including sustainability governance, energy and climate finance, technology and innovation, regional power grids, green hydrogen development. • Put greater focus (including through international collaboration) on achieving the universal access targets of SDG7.
  • 14. 14 A profound and systemic transformation of the global energy system must occur within 30 years. This condensed timeframe necessitates a strategic shift that expands beyond the focus on decarbonisation of supply toward designing an energy system that not only reduces carbon emissions but also supports a resilient and inclusive global economy. As a result, planning needs to extend beyond borders and the narrow confines of fuels to focus on the requirements of the new energy system and the economies it will sustain. Focusing on the demand for clean energy and the enablers of a renewables-dominated system can help address the structural barriers that hinder progress in the energy transition. Pursuing fuel and sectoral mitigation measures is necessary but insufficient to transition to an energy system fit for the dominance of renewables. From energy production and transportation to processing coal, oil and gas, the global infrastructure dedicated to energy will need to change. This will have impacts on power generation, industrial production and manufacturing, as well as on rail, pipelines, shipyards and other means of supplying fossil fuels. Switching the focus from fuels to systems design will help accelerate the development of a new energy infrastructure and sustain its implementation. The energy transition can support a move toward a more resilient and equitable world. WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023 DEVELOPING STRUCTURES FOR A RENEWABLES-BASED ENERGY SYSTEM
  • 15. 15 Governments can proactively shape a renewables-based energy system, overcome the flaws and inefficiencies of current structures, and more effectively influence outcomes. The simultaneous, proactive shaping of physical, policy and institutional structures will be essential to realising development and climate objectives toward a more resilient and equitable world. These underpinnings should form the pillars of the structure that supports the energy transition as follows: PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: forward-looking planning, modernisation and expansion of supporting infrastructure on land and sea to facilitate the development, storage, distribution and transmission, and consumption of renewables. It should facilitate national, regional and global strategies for new supply-demand dynamics and promote equity and inclusion. POLICY AND REGULATORY ENABLERS: design of policy and regulatory frameworks that facilitate deployment, integration and trade of renewables-based energy, shape socio-economic outcomes and promote equality. These need to enable different levels of the energy transition, from local to global, and account for new supply-demand dynamics. WELL-SKILLED WORKFORCE: capacity among institutions, communities and individuals to acquire the requisite skills, knowledge and expertise to drive and sustain the energy transition. An integral aspect of this will be ensuring that communities are well informed of, and able to exercise, their rights as critical transition stakeholders, and to harness its benefits. Physical infrastructure upgrades, modernisation and expansion will increase resilience and build flexibility for a diversified and interconnected energy system. Transmission and distribution will need to accommodate both the highly localised, decentralised nature of many renewable fuels, as well as different trade routes. Planning for interconnectors to enable electricity trade, and shipping routes for hydrogen and derivatives, must consider vastly different global dynamics and proactively link countries to promote the diversification and resilience of energy systems. Storage solutions will need to be widespread and designed with geo-economic impacts in mind. Public acceptance is also critical for any large-scale undertaking and can be secured through project transparency and opportunities for communities to voice their perspectives. Policy and regulatory enablers must systematically prioritise the acceleration of the energy transition and a reduction in the role of fossil fuels. Today, the underlying policy and regulatory systems remain shaped around fossil fuels. While it is inevitable that fossil fuels will remain in the energy mix for some time, their share must dramatically decrease as we approach mid-century. Policy frameworks and markets should therefore focus on accelerating the transition and provide the essential underpinnings for a resilient and inclusive system. A well-skilled workforce is a lynchpin of a successful energy transition. Work by IRENA and the International Labour Organization (ILO) has shown that the renewable energy sector employed some 12.7 million people worldwide as of 2022, growing from about 7.3 million in 2012. Energy transition modelling indicates that tens of millions of additional jobs will likely be created in the coming decades as investments grow and installed capacities expand. A broad range of occupational profiles will be needed. Filling these jobs will require concerted action in education and skills building, and governments have a critical role in co-ordinating efforts to align the offerings of the educational sector with projected industry needs - whether in the form of vocational training or university courses. To attract talent to the sector, it is crucial that jobs are decent, and that women, youth and minorities have equal access to job training, hiring networks and career opportunities. PREVIEW
  • 16. 16 Net-zero commitments must be embedded in legislation and translated into implementation plans that are adequately resourced. Without this crucial step, climate announcements remain aspirational, and the necessary progress out of reach. The current energy system is deeply woven into socio-economic structures that have evolved over centuries. This means significant structural change must occur in a condensed timeframe of less than three decades to successfully deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. Energy infrastructure is long-lived, so investment in fixed infrastructure should consider the long term. Every investment and planning decision around energy infrastructure today should consider the structure and geography of the low-carbon economy of the future. Electrification of end uses will reshape demand. Renewable power will require existing infrastructure to be modernised, with grid reinforcement and expansion on both land and sea. Green hydrogen production will also occur in locations other than today’s oil and gas fields. The technical challenges and economic costs of redesigning infrastructure should be accounted for, and the environmental and social aspects adequately addressed from the outset. Energy investment decisions should simultaneously drive the transition and reduce the risk of stranded assets. The Planned Energy Scenario foresees cumulative energy sector-wide investments of USD 103 trillion between 2023 and 2050, or USD 3.7 trillion annually, on average, to 2050. Around 59% of this investment is intended for energy transition technologies - mostly for renewables, energy efficiency, electrification, hydrogen, and carbon removals. However, some 41% of planned energy investment remains aimed at fossil fuels; therefore, a combination of scale-up and re-allocation of investment in energy transition technologies is needed to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. The 1.5°C Scenario envisages electricity becoming the main energy carrier, accounting for over 50% of total final energy consumption (see Figure 3). Renewable energy deployment, improvements in energy efficiency and the electrification of end-use sectors contribute to this shift. In addition, modern biomass and hydrogen are projected to play more significant roles, with 16% and 14% of total final energy consumption by 2050, respectively. Notably, 94% of hydrogen consumption is expected to come from renewables, indicating a growing reliance on clean energy sources. The pathway also suggests that total final energy consumption could decrease by 15% from 2020 to 2050, potentially indicating a trend towards decarbonisation and a more sustainable energy future. WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023 THE WAY FORWARD PRIORITISING BOLD AND TRANSFORMATIVE ACTIONS
  • 17. 17 PREVIEW FIGURE 3 Breakdown of total final energy consumption by energy carrier between 2020 and 2050 under the 1.5°C Scenario TFEC (%) 2020 2050: Where we need to be (1.5°C Scenario) 417EJ Total final energy consumption 353EJ Total final energy consumption 20% Electricity (direct) 51% Electricity (direct) 1% 4% 9% Traditional uses of biomass 66% Fossil fuels 16% Modern biomass uses 14% Hydrogen (direct use and e-fuels)* 7% Others Fossil fuels 12% Modern biomass uses Others Renewable share in hydrogen 94% 91% Renewable share in electricity 28% Renewable share in electricity Notes: The figures above include only energy consumption, excluding non-energy uses. For electricity use, 28% in 2020 and 91% in 2050 are sourced from renewable sources; for district heating, the shares are 7% and 95%, respectively; for hydrogen (direct use and e-fuels), the renewable energy share (i.e. green hydrogen) would reach 94% by 2050. The category Hydrogen (direct use and e-fuels) accounts for total hydrogen consumption (green and blue) and other e-fuels (e-ammonia and e-methanol). Electricity (direct) includes the consumption of electricity that is provided by all sources of generation: renewable, nuclear and fossil fuel based. Traditional uses of biomass refer to the residential TFEC of solid biofuels in non-OECD countries. Modern bioenergy uses include solid biomass, biogas and biomethane used in buildings and industry; and liquid biofuels used mainly in transport, but also in buildings, industry and other final consumption. Remaining fossil fuels in 2050 correspond to natural gas (mainly used in industry and transport, and to a lesser extent in buildings), oil (mainly in industry and transport, and to a lesser extent in buildings) and coal (corresponds to uses in industry - cement, chemicals, iron and steel). Others include district heat and other renewables consumption. EJ = exajoule; OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; TFEC = total final energy consumption.
  • 18. 18 The share of renewable energy in the world's primary energy supply grows from 16% in 2020 to 77% in 2050 under the 1.5°C Scenario, requiring an annual growth rate thirteen times the current rate (Figure 4). This growth is expected to stabilise primary energy supply due to increased energy efficiency and the growth of renewables. The energy mix will change drastically in the process, with a net gain of 61 percentage points of renewable energy share, driven by a mix of end-use electrification, renewable fuels and direct use. Achieving this level of renewable energy penetration is critical to meeting global climate goals and will require significant investment and policy support, as well as continued innovation. WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023 FIGURE 4 Total primary energy supply by energy carrier group, 2020-2050 under the 1.5°C Scenario 2020 2050 2045 2040 2035 2030 TPES (EJ/yr) 800 600 400 200 0 700 Renewables Nuclear Fossil fuels Where we need to be (1.5°C Scenario) -63p.p. -63p.p. 79% 79% 5% 5% 6% 6% 6% 6% 6% 6% 6% 6% 7% 7% 16% 16% 34% 34% 47% 47% 59% 59% 69% 69% 77% 77% 60% 60% 47% 47% 35% 35% 25% 25% 16% 16% +61p.p. +61p.p. Note: Renewables include bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind in all forms (electricity and synthetic fuels). Fossil fuels include coal, oil and natural gas; p.p. = percentage points.
  • 19. 19 Electricity generation will more than triple from 2020 to 2050, with 91% of the total electricity supply coming from renewable sources, compared to 28% in 2020 (see Figure 5). Coal- and oil-based power generation will experience a sharp decline over the decade before being phased out entirely by mid-century. By 2050, natural gas will provide 5% of total electricity needs, with the remainder being met by nuclear power plants. The transition features an important synergy between increasingly affordable renewable power technologies and the wider adoption of electric technologies for end-use applications, especially in transport and heat. By 2050, most of the world's power will be generated from renewable sources. PREVIEW FIGURE 5 Power generation needs to more than triple by 2050 Fossil fuels Fossil fuels Renewables Renewables Nuclear Nuclear 62% 62% 10% 10% 5% 5% 4% 4% 28% 28% 91% 91% 27.0 PWh 89.8 PWh 2020 2050: Where we need to be (1.5-S) Gross electricity generation (PWh) Gross electricity generation (PWh) Notes: PWh = petawatt hours.
  • 20. 20 Public investment strategies play a critical role in accelerating the speed of the energy transition. Such investments need to not only increase in volume, but also be allocated strategically to guide private investment decisions and serve as an effective instrument to shape the energy transition in ways that maximise benefits in the public interest. In addition, public procurement programmes are best placed to set standards so that energy projects adhere to labour standards and environmental safeguards. Stronger public sector intervention is required to channel investments towards countries and technologies in a more equitable way. Some 75% of global investment in renewables from 2013 to 2020 came from the private sector; but private capital tends to flow to the technologies and countries with the least associated risks, be they real or perceived. In 2020, 83% of commitments in solar PV came from private finance, whereas geothermal and hydropower relied primarily on public finance - only 32% and 3% of investments in these technologies, respectively, came from private investors in 2020 (IRENA & CPI, 2023). The greater need for public finance in hydropower is linked to large upfront investments, high construction risks, the need for long-tenor loans (as projects can take over a decade to complete), complex and lengthy permitting procedures, and high social and environmental risks, all of which can significantly hamper the ability of the private sector to finance large hydropower projects (IRENA, 2023b). For geothermal, meanwhile, the high costs of surface exploration and drilling represent the main obstacles to private sector financing. Publicfinanceandpolicyshouldcontinuetobeusedtocrowdinprivatecapital,butgreatergeographical and technological diversity of investment requires targeted and scaled-up public contributions. For many years, policy has focused on mobilising private capital. Public funding is urgently needed to invest in basic energy infrastructure in the developing world, as well as to drive deployment in less mature technologies (especially in end uses such as heating and transport, or synthetic fuel production) and in areas where private investors seldom venture. Otherwise, the gap in investment between the Global North and the Global South will continue to widen. In 2015, renewable energy investment per capita in North America (excluding Mexico) and Europe was around 22 times higher than in Sub-Saharan Africa. But by 2021, investment per capita in Europe had risen to 41 times that in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in North America it was 57 times more (see Figure 6). This is partly explained by the fact that Sub-Saharan Africa investment per capita in 2021 had fallen to almost half its 2015 value of USD 6 per person (IRENA and CPI, 2023). Public financing has a critical role to play to help achieve a just and inclusive energy transition. WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
  • 21. 21 A just and inclusive energy transition will help to overcome deep disparities that affect the quality of life of hundreds of millions of people. Energy transition policies must be aligned with broader systemic changes that aim to safeguard human well-being, advance equity among countries and communities, and bring the global economy in line with climate, broader environmental and resource constraints. Supporting developing countries to accelerate the energy transition could improve energy security while preventing the global decarbonisation divide from widening. A diverse energy market would reduce supply chain risks, improve energy security and ensure local value creation for commodity producers. Access to technology, training, capacity building and affordable finance will be vital to unlock the full potential of countries’ contributions to the global energy transition, especially for those rich in renewables and related resources. Human welfare and security must remain at the heart of the energy transition. Systemic changes beyond the energy sector will be needed to overcome pervasive problems related to human welfare and security, as well as deeply embedded inequalities; a renewables-based energy transition can help alleviate some of the conditions that underly these issues. The more the energy transition can help solve these broad challenges, the more its popular acceptance and legitimacy will rise, provided also that community needs and interests are well represented and integrated into transition planning. PREVIEW FIGURE 6 Growing disparities in per capita investment between Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and North America Investment in renewable energy per capita Sub-Saharan Africa Europe North America (excluding Mexico) Investment in renewable energy per capita Sub-Saharan Africa Europe North America (excluding Mexico) 2015 2021 22 times 41 times 23 times 57 times 2015 2021 22 times 127 times 23 times 179 times
  • 22. 22 To achieve a successful energy transition, international co-operation needs to be enhanced and redesigned. The centrality of energy to the global development and climate agenda is undisputed, and international co-operation in energy has increased exponentially in recent years. This co-operation plays a decisive role in determining the outcomes of the energy transition and is a critical avenue for achieving greater resilience, inclusion and equality. The dynamism of energy sectors and geopolitical developments necessitates greater scrutiny of international co-operation modalities, instruments and approaches to ensure their relevance, impact and agility. The expanding variety of actors in the energy transition requires an assessment of roles to leverage respective strengths and efficiently allocate limited public resources. The imperatives of development and climate action, coupled with changing energy supply and demand dynamics, require coherence and alignment around priority actions. For instance, investment in systems for cross-border and global trade of energycommoditieswillrequireinternationalco-operationatanunprecedentedscale.Itis,therefore,essential to reconsider the roles and responsibilities of national and regional entities, international organisations, and international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to ensure their optimal contribution to the energy transition. Achieving the energy transition will require collective efforts to channel funds to the Global South. In 2020, multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions (DFIs) provided less than 3% of total renewable energy investments. Going forward, they need to direct more funds, at better terms, towards large-scale energy transition projects. Moreover, financing from DFIs was provided mainly through debt financing at market rates (requiring repayment with interest rates charged at market value) while grants and concessional loans amounted to just 1% of total renewable energy finance (IRENA & CPI, 2023). These institutions are uniquely placed to support large-scale and cross-border projects that can make a notable difference in accelerating the global energy transition. REWRITING INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION WORLD ENERGY TRANSITIONS OUTLOOK 2023
  • 23. 23 1.5°C Scenario REFERENCES ESMAP (2022), Mini Grids for Half a Billion People: Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers, World Bank, Washington, D.C., https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/entities/publication/b53273b6- b19a-578e-8949-8dc5c7a3cd79 ESMAP, et al. (2022), Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2022: Outlook, World Bank, Washington, D.C., https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/099355110142233755/pdf/ P17515005a7f550f1090130cf1b9f2b671e.pdf IPCC (2022), "Summary for Policymakers", Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, 10.1017/9781009157926.001 IRENA (2022), Renewable energy targets in 2022: A guide to design, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi, www.irena.org/Publications/2022/Nov/Renewable-energy-targets-in-2022 IRENA (2023a), Renewable capacity statistics 2023, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi, www.irena.org/Publications/2023/Mar/Renewable-capacity-statistics-2023 IRENA (2023b), The changing role of hydropower: Challenges and opportunities, International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi, www.irena.org/Publications/2023/Feb/The-changing-role-of-hydropower- Challenges-and-opportunities IRENA and CPI (2023), Global landscape of renewable energy finance 2023, International Renewable Energy Agency and Climate Policy Initiative, Abu Dhabi, www.irena.org/Publications/2023/Feb/Global-landscape- of-renewable-energy-finance-2023 The World Energy Transitions Outlook outlines a vision for the transition of the energy landscape to reflect the goals of the Paris Agreement, presenting a pathway for limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and bringing CO2 emissions to net zero by mid-century. This preview presents high-level insights from the forthcoming 2023 report, which builds on two of IRENA’s key scenarios to capture global progress toward meeting the 1.5°C climate goal. The Planned Energy Scenario is the primary reference case for this study, providing a perspective on energy system developments based on governments’ energy plans and other planned targets and policies in place at the time of analysis with a focus on G20 countries. The 1.5°C Scenario describes an energy transition pathway aligned with the 1.5°C climate goal – that is, to limit global average temperature increase by the end of the present century to 1.5°C, relative to pre- industrial levels. It prioritises readily available technology solutions, which can be scaled up at the necessary pace to meet the 1.5°C goal. 1.5°C Scenario Planned Energy Scenario PREVIEW