G7 nations set to expand solar, wind power capacity by 2030

G7 nations set to expand solar, wind power capacity by 2030
April 17
17:34 2023

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The G7 climate change, energy, and environment ministers of rich nations wrapped up their two-day meeting in Sapporo with an agreement to drastically expand offshore wind power by 2030, but stopped short of endorsing a 2030 deadline for phasing out coal and leave the door open for continued investment in fossil gas.

At a meeting hosted by Japan, the G7 countries set the urgent need to reduce global GHG emissions by around 43 per cent by 2030 and 60 per cent by 2035 aligned to 1.5 degrees Celsius and in light of the most recent IPCC report.

The G7 countries commit to “fully” or “predominantly” decarbonise their power grids no later than 2035 and accelerate the phase-out of domestic unabated coal power.

They agreed to substantially increase the pace and scale of deployment of renewables and committed to cut demand for gas as a primary response to the energy crisis and showed commitment to massively expand solar and offshore wind.

In a renewable boost, the G7 Climate and Environment Ministers have agreed to a breakthrough acceleration in solar and wind energy signalling a massive boost for renewable energies — collectively increasing offshore wind capacity of 150 GW by 2030 and solar PV to more than 1TW by 2030 — and the increasing deprioritization of gas, coal and fossil fuels in a bid to limit global temperatures rises to 1.5 degrees.

On the coal phase out divisions, the ministers committed to “fully” or “predominantly” decarbonise their power sector by 2035 but they failed to agree to a proposal made by the UK and Canada to phase out coal by 2030.

Negotiators told IANS on Monday that this saw objections from Japan, the US and the EU. Instead ministers agreed that there should be no further need for coal power stations either within the G7 or globally.

The caveat of “predominantly” is seen as a direct result of Japan’s failure to adopt more ambitious domestic power sector decarbonisation plans.

The ministers also agreed to accelerate the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels in order to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050. They recognise that the fossil fuel sector must achieve the fastest and deepest emissions reductions to reach 1.5 and “reduce the likelihood of reaching climate tipping points”.

They fell short on providing an update on the phase out of “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”, which the group pledged to achieve by 2025.

Japan’s attempt to promote ammonia co-firing as a form of clean technology in the power sector domestically and in Asia via the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) was degraded by the rest of the group.

Responding to the outcome of the G7 nations, Alden Meyer, Senior Associate at E3G, said: “While the final communique is substantially better in many areas than earlier drafts, as other G7 countries successfully resisted Japan’s efforts to widen loopholes for expanded use of fossil fuels. It falls short of being the clarion call to action that was needed.

“The most notable demonstration of greater ambition is on renewable energy, with G7 countries making a collective commitment to increase their offshore wind capacity to 150 GW by 2030 and to increase solar PV capacity to more than 1TW by 2030.

“By failing to commit to fully decarbonize the power sector, slash road sector emissions, and totally eliminate international fossil fuel finance, ministers missed the opportunity to provide real leadership in addressing the climate emergency. Their shortfalls on these fronts give other countries excuses to say: Well you talk a big game, but you’re not delivering at home.”

Kimiko Hirata, Executive Director of Climate Integrate said, Japan pushed its own domestic agenda driven by industry interests rather than to set a positive political signal to tackle the climate crisis.

“Japan strongly objected to ending coal and full decarbonisation of the power sector by 2035. The lack of a deadline to end coal and the language referring to retaining “fully” and “predominantly” decarbonisation of the power sector are weak signals as rich nations’ leadership.

“Given Japan has been challenged by G6, some progress has been made to have a nuance for the use of ammonia and hydrogen co-firing for the power sector only for some countries, as not widely accepted as G7, and added condition only if it’s aligned with a 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The question for now is how leaders take further steps to strengthen the climate and energy agenda next month in order to create momentum to set the tone for upcoming G20 and COP28.”

Believing that the G7 confirms solar and wind are in line for take-off, Dave Jones, Head of Global Insights at Ember said: “The text shows they plan to install 2.4 times more per year of solar from 2023 to 2030 than during 2022, and six times more for offshore wind. It is great to see the G7 align with the IPCC, which is very clear that solar and wind are the biggest and cheapest tools in the toolbox to reduce emissions this decade.”

Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency said: “With this in mind, the push by some companies and governments to build new large-scale fossil fuel projects is not only a bet against the world reaching its climate goals — it is also a risky proposition for investors who want reasonable returns on their capital.”

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