Climate policies ‘not enough’ for Paris climate goals

With 62% of global electricity from solar and wind predicted by mid-century, a DNV GL forecast for growth falls well short of transformation needed for decarbonisation

DNV GL had previously forecast 17TW of wind and solar capacity by 2050 (pic credit: EDF)
DNV GL had previously forecast 17TW of wind and solar capacity by 2050 (pic credit: EDF)

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Climate positive policies from the US president-elect, the UK prime minister and the EU are not enough to solve the emissions crisis, a paper from DNV GL says, as it unveiled a five-point action plan to accelerate decarbonisation.

A sizeable boost in the rate of investment – as well as the development of technology and skills to transition – are needed to meet climate targets, according to a report released by the analysis firm.

The five key strategies were published in the final report from the DNV GL ‘Transition Faster Together’ 2020 series, drawing on input from independent energy experts on renewables, power grids and energy efficiency.

The strategies outline how governments must increase policy support and economic stimulus packages, to encourage investment in emerging technologies, as well as a more general re-skilling and a focus on cross-sector partnerships.

Cross-sector industry support is crucial to be within striking distance of the Paris Agreement, the report says, alongside the election commitments from Joe Biden, the UK government’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the European Union's plans to increase offshore windfarm capacity 25-fold as part of the Green Deal.

The prediction of 62% of the world’s electricity needs from solar and wind by mid-century – generated by 17TW of installed solar and wind capacity – came from DNV GL’s recently launched Energy Transition Outlook. This forecast preceded key developments such as Joe Biden winning the US presidential election, and China and Japan announcing targets for carbon neutrality – all of which are likely to boost renewable energy capacity.

Ditlev Engel, CEO at DNV GL Energy said: “With Covid-19, normal life has changed dramatically in 2020, however as we endure these tough times, the climate emergency persists.

“We can be encouraged by recent world commitments towards climate positive policies, but that is only one part of the necessary movement needed to shift the emissions dial. While many governments are proficient at putting together strategies for energy programs, it will not be fast enough, according to our forecast.”

Emerging tech

More support is needed for developing and deploying new emerging technologies such as bifacial solar modules, larger wind turbines, floating solar and floating wind – all set to increase in the next five years.

That means a significant ramping up of renewables and power grids to integrate new technologies faster.

Accelerating policy and regulations

Governments must be urged to increase climate commitments and quickly bring forward policy and regulatory frameworks.

Decarbonisation projects are still facing problems over policy implementation, causing delays and uncertainty, a situation likely to continue without more cross-party cohesion. 

Post Covid-19 investment

DNV GL has also called for investments to accelerate the energy transition, especially as the global pandemic has created a risk of long-term economic uncertainty, amid concerns the Covid-19 crisis could dampen climate initiatives.

Governments must commit to post-pandemic economic stimulus packages for low or zero-carbon solutions and long-term sustainable solutions, the report says.

Collaboration and skilling up

The analysis firm also calls for more cross-collaboration within sectors. This includes integrating different sectors such as households, industry and transport through electrification, for example.

It also calls for institutions to make sure the workforce has the sufficient skills for the energy transition. Industry will need to work with the education sector and academic institutions to ensure that the workforce of tomorrow is agile, diverse and technologically and digitally adept to adjust and keep abreast of changes, DNV GL suggests

Engel added: “The energy sector needs to recruit and reskill aggressively in the next decade to enable its workforce to keep pace with the energy transition. The workforce needs be agile, diverse, technologically and digitally adept to adjust and keep abreast of changes. The technology to enable digital transformation is available but this technology is only as good as the people who use it.

“Organisations need to invest in practical skills training combined with a mindset shift to ensure their employees have the expertise to add value on top of technology implementation. We need a combination of solutions to set a new path that is sustainable and people-centred.

“As a global energy industry, we need to join forces and do everything in our power to ensure we transition faster together.”

‘Transition Faster Together: 2020 is the final report in a series by DNV GL looking at solutions to accelerate the energy transition.

In September, DNV GL CEO and wind industry veteran Ditlev Engel explained how the Covid-19 crisis has disrupted the wind-power industry’s supply chains and hindered project installations, while worldwide economic uncertainty has slowed transactions.

Engel, warned that to keep global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, an 8% reduction in energy demand forecast for 2020 would need to happen every year until mid-century.

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