Far from a dopamine-inducing status update, the Renewable 2021 Global Status Report, found the world is “nowhere near the necessary paradigm shift towards a clean, healthier and more equitable energy future”.
This holds true for Australia. At the end of 2020, 165 countries had sectoral renewables targets in place. Australia was not one of them.
Just five of the G20 countries had targets which covered all sectors. Of those five, Italy, Germany and the EU just managed to scrape through to meet their targets while France and United Kingdom missed theirs entirely.
“We are waking up to the bitter reality that the climate policy promises over the past ten years have mostly been empty words. The share of fossil fuels in final energy consumption has not moved by an inch,” Rana Adib, REN21’s Executive Director, said. “Phasing them out and making renewables the new norm are the strongest actions we can take.”
While renewable capacity was added at record rates, with 256 GW installed in 2020, and generation in the global electricity mix reached new heights at an estimated 29%, it wasn’t enough.
“Despite these advances, renewable electricity continued to face challenges in achieving a larger share of global electricity generation, due in part to persistent investment in fossil fuel (and nuclear) power capacity,” the report reads.
In 2011, fossil fuels accounted for 80.3% of the total electricity generation mix. Today, the number stands at 80.2%.
Australia ‘not doing enough’
“Australia’s primary support mechanism to support renewable energy development, the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target, was met in 2019 ahead of schedule with no extension announced,” industry peak body the Clean Energy Council said in response to the report.
“States and territories are currently doing the heavy lifting on emissions reduction.”
The Council went on to say the Gen21 report shows “Australia is not doing enough to decarbonise its economy and that urgent action is required within the next decade to get to net-zero emissions by 2050.”
At the end of 2020, Australia ranked 14th in total renewable power capacity at 50 GW.
The report found renewable energy made up around 10% of Australia’s total final energy consumption, ranking us 12th of G20 countries, behind Brazil, Canada, Turkey, the US, Argentina and India.
Australia was ranked in fifth position for renewable power capacity per capita (not including hydropower), but that ranking remains unchanged from last year.
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