Tracking Clean Energy Progress
The International Energy Agency (IEA) releases an annual Tracking Clean Energy Progress report that highlights the state of clean energy technologies worldwide. It provides an overview of the current status of 45 key energy technologies and the developments they are making. In addition, it gives a glimpse into the future of energy development and includes information on public and private investment in clean technology. This report focuses on technological progress and provides recommendations for getting on track with the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).
Among the clean energy technologies tracked by IEA are wind, solar, and geothermal power, among others. These technologies, when combined with other sources of electricity, are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, most of these technologies are not yet on track to meet Paris climate goals. Therefore, more work is needed to achieve the SDS.
IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress report also evaluates the progress of 55 energy system components. These include electricity generation and storage, buildings, transportation, and industry. They are based on data and policy inputs gathered up to July 2022. There are 30 tracking areas that are rated as “more efforts needed”.
Overall, clean energy transitions remain strong. Electric vehicles reached a new record in 2018. Solar photovoltaic systems were installed at a record pace. A number of states are taking policy action to increase clean energy. Additionally, major R&D initiatives are being supported by governments. As a result, more people are gaining access to electricity. Meanwhile, the number of people without it is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Several countries are working towards the achievement of SDG 7 by 2030. For example, the United States’ historic Inflation Reduction Act provides USD 370 billion in climate change investments. China’s 14th Five-Year Plan focuses on carbon capture, heavy industry, and hydrogen. Other nations are also moving in this direction.
Despite recent policy action and the development of many demonstration projects, the world has a long way to go. However, recent technology advances indicate that the momentum of the clean energy transition is growing. With that in mind, the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy is taking place in September 2021, to examine the steps required to achieve the SDS by 2030.
The Tracking Clean Energy Innovation Progress website offers additional information, and includes dashboards. It also includes a timeline of operations, and an updated version of the Clean Technology Guide.
IRENA produces Tracking SDG 7 reports jointly with other organizations. In addition to tracking SDG 7, IRENA has released an excerpt from its Energy Technology Perspectives, which is available online. Both the IEA report and the TCEP report provide a comprehensive analysis of the clean energy transitions occurring around the world. Their latest report has a special section on tracking clean energy innovation progress.
Throughout the year, the IEA has also released a variety of other reports examining progress on clean energy technologies. The latest report in this series, IEA’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2012, focuses on key technology developments and pathways to a sustainable energy system in 2050.