Global Renewable Energy Initiatives
Solar and Wind
In August 2022 the United States introduced the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which significantly expands support for renewable energy in the next 10 years through tax credits and other measures.
Three months earlier, the European Commission had proposed increasing the European Union’s renewable energy target for 2030 to 45% as part of the RepowerEU Plan. In February 2023, the commission announced the Green Deal Industrial Plan, aiming to support the expansion of clean energy technology manufacturing, including wind power. In another positive development, in April 2023 nine European countries announced plans to significantly accelerate offshore wind deployment and increase installed power capacity from 30 GW in 2022 to over 120 GW by 2030 and over 300 GW by 2050.
China published its 14th Five-Year Plan for Renewable Energy in June 2022, which includes an ambitious target of 33% of electricity generation to come from renewables by 2025 (up from about 29% in 2021), including an 18% target for wind and solar technologies.
During COP26, held in November 2021, India announced new 2030 targets of 500 GW of total non-fossil power capacity and a 50% renewable electricity generation share (more than double the 22% share in 2020), as well as net-zero emissions by 2070.
The United States’ Inflation Reduction Act increases and extends support in the form of tax credits for hydropower technologies.
Europe commissioned almost 2 GW of pumped storage hydropower capacity in 2022, the largest amount since at least 1990. Two projects in Switzerland and Portugal aim to facilitate integration of solar PV and wind.
China continues to lead in terms of capacity additions, with 24 GW added in 2022, equal to three quarters of all global growth. Hydropower remains an important part of the 14th Five-Year Plan for Renewable Energy, but capacity additions are expected to slow down in the coming years due to a diminishing number of suitable sites and environmental constraints.
India is continuing to develop several large hydropower projects, with significant capacity expected to come online in the coming years. Hydropower is one of the crucial technologies for fulfilling a commitment to reach 500 GW of non-fossil electricity capacity in 2030.
The United States’ Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for several steps along the bioenergy value chain, including to scale up the use of sustainable biomass and waste resources to produce aviation fuels, chemicals and biomaterials, including advanced fertilizers, and to spur innovation within these sectors, including in conversion technologies.
In March 2023, the European Union reached a provisional agreement on the update to the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III). The agreement includes strengthening sustainability criteria for the use of biomass for energy by applying the “cascading” principle while incorporating national priorities. The European Union also set a target in 2022 to achieve 35 billion cubic meters (bcm) annual production of biomethane by 2030 (compared to 3.5 bcm today) and launched the Biomethane Industrial Partnership in September 2022 to help support this goal.
India extended its Biomass Program in 2022 to support domestic solid and gaseous biogas production and use through 2026.
Australia decided in 2022 to exclude the burning of native forest wood for electricity generation from its renewable energy targets, reversing a decision made in 2015, and thus helping to ensure that bioenergy resources are sustainably sourced.