Energy Transition

The EU unveils plans to boost its shift to green energy: Here's what you need to know about the global energy transition this week

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Top energy news: EU unveils plans to boost its energy transition; East Asia to continue leading on wind power; and more.

Top energy news: EU unveils plans to boost its energy transition; East Asia to continue leading on wind power; and more. Image: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Roberto Bocca
Head of Centre for Energy and Materials; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum

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  • This weekly round-up brings you the latest developments in the global energy sector.
  • Top energy news: EU unveils plans to boost its energy transition; East Asia to continue leading on wind power; Volkswagen to invest $191 billion in electric vehicles.
  • For more on the World Economic Forum’s work in the energy space, visit the Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials and Infrastructure Platform.

1. EU looks to boost energy transition

The European Commission has unveiled one of the centrepieces of its energy transition strategy in an attempt to ensure the EU can compete with the US and China in making clean tech products and accessing raw materials. Its Net-Zero Industry Act and Critical Raw Materials Act are part of its Green Deal Industrial Plan.

The Commission says global investment in the energy transition is set to triple by 2030 from $1 trillion last year. "The bottom line is that we want to be leaders in the green industries of the future," Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said.

The EU's executive branch has set targets for the region to mine 10% of the critical raw materials it consumes – including lithium and, for the first time, copper and nickel – with recycling adding a further 15%. It also aims to increase processing to 40% of its needs by 2030.

The EU has also set a target for 2030 of producing at least 40% of the products it needs for net-zero technologies, such as solar power or fuel cells, partly by streamlining the granting of permits for green projects. The bloc has also announced a goal for carbon capture of 50 million tonnes by 2030.


How is the World Economic Forum facilitating the transition to clean energy?

2. East Asia set to remain top wind power region

East Asia is on track to remain the world's top wind power production region thanks to a project development pipeline that will expand its capacity by 65% by the end of 2030, according to data from Global Energy Monitor (GEM). Wind is the largest and fastest-growing source of renewable power globally, and is expanding at a record pace in every major economy.

Wind power generated roughly 7.8% of the world's electricity in 2022, but it must expand by enough to produce 21% of global electricity by 2030 in order to put the world on track to hit net-zero emissions goals. The predicted rapid pace of wind power expansion means the goal of having it generate over 20% of global electricity by 2030 is potentially achievable.

East Asia will remain the world's top wind power region
East Asia will remain the world's top wind power region. Image: Reuters

China will remain the largest wind producer and top wind capacity developer, but South Korea, Japan and Taiwan will all post faster growth rates than China through to 2030, according to GEM. Together, these East Asian countries are set to make up 36.2% of world wind capacity by 2030, GEM data show.

Europe will be the second-largest wind power developer over the remainder of this decade, boosting capacity by 68% from current levels. And the United States is set to cement its position as the second-largest wind producer overall thanks to a 53% increase in capacity by 2030. Brazil looks set to more than treble its current wind capacity and jump to third in the global rankings, from seventh now.

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3. News in brief: More energy stories from around the world

Seven EU states including Germany, Spain and Denmark have strengthened their resistance to efforts by France to count nuclear energy towards EU renewable energy targets. The bloc is negotiating more ambitious green targets, but the talks have been deadlocked by a dispute over whether countries can meet the goals using "low-carbon hydrogen" produced using nuclear power.

Volkswagen says it will invest €180 billion ($191 billion) in electric vehicle production over the next five years, reports The Financial Times. The company says it will manufacture its own batteries and expand into the US and Chinese markets.

A South African private-equity firm says it has secured $199.4 million of financing to help fund Africa's energy transition, reports Afrik 21. Inspired Evolution says the commitments have come from seven international institutions, including the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.

Japan and Canada are discussing collaboration on building strong supply chains for battery metals. "Canada has an abundance of battery metals and good market access to the United States," Japan's industry minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said.

China is forecast to produce half of the world’s cobalt over the next two years, up from 44% currently, reports The Financial Times. The metal is widely used in batteries for electric vehicles.

Brazilian mining company Vale says it has produced iron ore pellets on an industrial scale for the first time without adding coal. The company describes this as a major step towards reducing its carbon footprint.

Europe's biggest gas supplier, says European prices could again rise to "very high" levels next winter. Equinor says this will depend on whether cold weather and a rebound in Chinese energy demand stretch gas supplies.

UK energy supplier Octopus Energy says it will invest €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in the French green energy market over the next two years. The investment will be used to accelerate the energy transition in France and generate enough local low-carbon power to supply 300,000 households.

Investments of €15-22 billion ($15.9-23.4 billion) would be needed to fund a new 4,200-kilometre hydrogen pipeline network, according to a study. It would link Germany, Belgium, the UK, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands.

Italian energy firm Eni and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company have agreed to work together on future renewable energy projects. The firms will look at opportunities in areas such as green hydrogen and energy-efficiency improvements, as well as exploring ways to cut methane emissions, Renews reports.

The heat generated by a tiny data centre in the UK is being used to heat a public swimming pool, reports BBC News. The energy provided by the servers is being supplied to a local council free of charge by start-up Deep Green.

4. More on energy from Agenda

A significant rise in CO2 emissions from the global power sector is unlikely over the next few years, thanks to the rapid rise in renewable energy capacity. The International Energy Agency says renewables will account for 35% of global power generation by 2025.

Emissions-free green hydrogen could be an important addition to the range of clean energies. But to enable a wider uptake, it needs technological breakthroughs and infrastructure development, an expert explains.

Heat makes up half the world's total energy consumption, so decarbonizing heat sources is vital to tackle the climate crisis. Here's a look at some of the options for doing this.

To learn more about the work of the Energy, Materials, Infrastructure Platform, contact Ella Yutong Lin:

1. EU looks to boost energy transition2. East Asia set to remain top wind power region3. News in brief: More energy stories from around the world4. More on energy from Agenda

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