Energy Transition

Green financing for emerging economies on COP29 agenda, and other top energy stories

Green finance should be a top priority at the next COP, says IEA chief Fatih Birol.

Green finance should be a top priority at the next COP, says IEA chief Fatih Birol. Image: REUTERS/Bing Guan

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Energy Transition

This article is part of: Centre for Energy and Materials
  • This round-up brings you the key energy stories from the energy sector over the past month.
  • Top energy news: Call to boost green financing for emerging economies ahead of COP29; Global coal capacity sees 2% growth in 2023; Record rise in World's renewable energy capacity – but still a way off climate targets.
  • For more on the World Economic Forum’s work in the energy space, visit the Centre for Energy and Materials.

1. Focus on green finance for emerging economies

The need for clean energy finance for emerging economies has been reiterated ahead of COP29.

The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, has highlighted “the importance of boosting clean energy financing in emerging economies,” and he sees it as one of the priorities for the agenda in Baku, Azerbaijan in November, the Manila Bulletin reports.

At last year’s COP28 conference there was continued discussion on setting a new collective goal on climate finance, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries.

2. Coal-fired power generation capacity grew 2% in 2023

The world’s coal-fired power capacity grew by 2% in 2023, the fastest since 2016, according to new research.

In an annual survey, Global Energy Monitor said 69.5 gigawatts (GW) came online in 2023, with around two-thirds of this added capacity coming from China, with 21.1GW of capacity retired in 2023.

Graph showing the annual change in global coal capacity
Growth in China contributed to a jump in global coal capacity of 2% in 2023 Image: Global Energy Monitor

However, the accelerated growth may be short-lived as retirement rates are expected to pick up speed in the US and Europe in 2024 and the years ahead, according to the survey. It added that construction had started on less than 4GW of new projects outside of China in 2023, a substantial drop on the 16GW annual average between 2015 and 2022 for the same set of countries.

Commenting on the findings, Flora Champenois, the Coal Program Director for Global Energy Monitor, said: “Coal’s fortunes this year are an anomaly, as all signs point to reversing course from this accelerated expansion.

“But countries that have coal plants to retire need to do so more quickly, and countries that have plans for new coal plants must make sure these are never built. Otherwise we can forget about meeting our goals in the Paris Agreement and reaping the benefits that a swift transition to clean energy will bring.”

The Centre for Energy and Materials' Coal to Renewables initiative at the World Economic Forum discusses the challenges of phasing down global coal use in the power sector and the role of international partnerships.

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

Global renewable power capacity additions increased for a record 22nd consecutive year in 2023, research from REN21 has found. According to the group’s renewable global status report, 473GW of renewable power capacity was added, a 36% year-on-year increase, but this is less than half of the increase required to meet climate goals, Reuters reports.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission has raised the country’s oil and gas reserve figures. The country’s known hydrocarbon reserves have increased, with crude oil and condensate hitting 37.5 billion barrels, as of 1 January, the government department said.


What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

Japan and the US have announced a partnership to accelerate the development and commercialization of nuclear fusion as part of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Washington. The partnership will expand collaboration between American and Japanese universities, laboratories and businesses, the US Department of Energy said.

Geothermal power capacity in the US could increase 20-fold by 2050, generating 10% of the country’s electricity, according to the country’s geothermal roadmap. It follows President Biden's administration announcing $74 million for up to seven geothermal pilot projects. This would allow geothermal energy to be drawn from the ground anywhere, rather than just at geothermal hot spots.

Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa has declared an emergency in the energy sector, as drought impacts its hydro-electricity production capabilities.

German oil and gas production fell in 2023, according to industry association BVEG. Oil production dropped 5.9% year-on-year and natural gas output fell by 10.4%

The Global Wind Energy Council has said the world installed a record amount of wind capacity last year. In its Global Wind Report, the trade association said total installed capacity was 117GW – a 50% year-on-year jump. The report's authors predict a compound annual growth rate of 9.4% in new installations for the next five years.

An estimate of new global wind installation figures from 2023-2028.
Both onshore and offshore wind capacity are expected to grow every year until 2028. Image: Global Wind Energy Council

Chile aims to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on a large scale by 2030, as part of its 2050 SAF Roadmap. The plan is to use the fuel, which is made from municipal waste, oils and fats, for half of its aviation needs by 2050.

4. More on energy from Agenda

Trimmed-down, window-mounted heat pumps are undergoing trials that could see them make the apartments of New York more sustainable. Read more here.

Japan is fast becoming a global leader in hydrogen technology development, largely due to its strategic emphasis on hydrogen as a next-generation energy source. This article explores how Japanese companies are pioneering the application of the technology.

Mining key minerals is critical for the energy transition, but this article explores why the sector must dig deep to explain its net zero strategy.

The scaleup of renewable technologies relies upon the availability of scarce critical metals, of which the recycling rate is currently very low. Here's how we can improve circularity within the industry.

The recycling of these 'energy-transition metals' also provides abundant growth potential for the sector, if structural changes to the current market dynamics are followed.

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