Renewable resources, record growth. Birol (Aie): “The world also owes it to China”


The goal of tripling renewable electricity generation capacity by 2030 is within reach after a “spectacular” year for the sector. And the credit should go at least in part to China, which is “doing the rest of the world a service, to be honest,” not only because it’s driving the new facilities, but also because it’s primarily responsible for the cost collapse that’s made energy relative to fossil fuels increasingly competitive. This is how the director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol sees it, who previously shared with Il Sole 24 Ore and commented on the results of the latest report on renewable sources prepared by the OECD body.

The report, published on Thursday the 11th, focuses on one of the main commitments signed by the 198 countries that took part in COP28 in December, and its conclusions are encouraging: “We are on the right trajectory – summarizes Birol – And even just by applying current policies, we expect that renewable electricity generation capacity will grow two and a half times by 2028, the year the report’s forecasts stop. The goal of tripling it by 2030 and reaching a total of 11 thousand gigawatts worldwide is therefore “achievable”.

However, governments must actively participate in fulfilling the commitments made in Dubai. And renewable sources must also take off in developing countries, where project financing has become even more difficult with the rise in interest rates: «Progress is needed in Africa, Latin America, in Asia», Birol insists.

The IEA intends to ensure that the promises of COP28 are not betrayed: “We have started to monitor the actions taken by every single country in the world – Birol envisages Il Sole 24 Ore – Let’s start with renewables, but we intend to accept to take care of them all COP28 goals, including on energy efficiency and the shift away from fossil fuels’

On the renewables front, the change in direction seen in recent months is encouraging. “2023 was a spectacular year, a milestone indeed – enthused Paris agency director – In a single year, global capacity increased by 50%, i.e. more than 500 gigawatts: something equivalent to all the electrical power, from any source, installed in France, Spain and Germany together.”


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