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Charted: Progress on 2030 Renewable Energy Targets by Country

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The following content is sponsored by the National Public Utilities Council

Charted: Progress on 2030 Renewable Energy Targets by Country

Charted: Progress on 2030 Renewable Energy Targets by Country

Progress on 2030 Renewable Energy Targets by Country

The International Energy Agency states that the global installed capacity of renewable energy must triple by 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 

This makes the next six years critical in the climate fight, with the upcoming United Nations COP28 event in Dubai representing a great time to assess the progress of countries toward achieving their 2030 targets. 

Checking in on Progress

As set out by their Nationally Determined Contributions in the Paris Agreement, many countries, including major electricity consumers such as the U.S., European Union, China, India, and the UK, have set ambitious targets for increasing their solar and wind power generation capacities by 2030. 

The data, however, suggests that many are struggling to keep pace with the required annual capacity additions that will allow them to hit these targets. 

Currently, China stands out as the only nation on track to meet its 2030 target. In 2022, it not only met but significantly exceeded its required capacity additions to remain on track, adding 168% of the required 101 GW. 

Let’s now take a closer look at how each of these countries are faring, comparing how much wind and solar capacity they needed to add with how much they actually did in 2022.

Country / Region2030 TargetAnnual Average Wind and Solar Capacity Additions
Needed to Hit 2030 Target
Actual Capacity Additions in 2022
WindSolarTotalWindSolarTotal
India40% zero-carbon generation by 2030 (includes nuclear)16 GW19 GW35 GW2 GW18 GW20 GW
China28% renewables by 203057 GW44 GW101 GW55 GW115 GW170 GW
United States739 GW of wind and solar by 2030 to reach zero-carbon electricity by 203534 GW35 GW69 GW11 GW21 GW32 GW
United Kingdom60% renewables by 20304 GW3 GW7 GW4 GW1 GW5 GW
European UnionREPowerEU: 42.5% renewables by 203038 GW48 GW86 GW16 GW38 GW54 GW

Overall, the U.S. and India were the furthest off from their targets in 2022, adding only 46% and 57% of what was needed, respectively. European countries, on the other hand, made progress but still need substantial annual additions to meet their targets by 2030.

Playing Catch-Up: The Path to 2030

Collectively, the U.S., European Union, China, India, and the UK account for more than 60% of global electricity consumption, underscoring their profound responsibility in decarbonizing their electricity sectors.

Investments in research and development, policy support, and infrastructure development are all crucial pieces of the puzzle when it comes to achieving 2030 targets. 

With swift and bold action, these nations have an opportunity to transform the global energy landscape and move the needle toward achieving net-zero on a global scale.

Learn more about how electric utilities and the power sector can lead on the path toward decarbonization here.

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Clean Energy

Breaking Down the $110 Trillion Cost of the Clean Energy Transition

The clean energy transition will cost $110 trillion in global capital investments between 2021 and 2050. Here’s that sum broken down by sector.

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the $110 trillion cost of the clean energy transition

The $110 Trillion Cost of the Clean Energy Transition

The Energy Transitions Commission estimates that achieving net-zero by 2050 requires an average annual investment of $3.5 trillion globally between 2021 and 2050.

That’s a total of $110 trillion in capital investment, or 1.3% of projected global GDP, over the next three decades.

The question then arises: where should this substantial sum of money be allocated?

In collaboration with the National Public Utilities Council, this graphic delves into the answers to that question utilizing data from the Energy Transitions Commission.

How Much Will the Clean Energy Transition Cost?

Of the $3.5 trillion dollars that needs to be invested annually into a net-zero economy, around $2.4 trillion should flow into the electricity sector, according to the Energy Transitions Commission. This accounts for 70% of the annual investment.

Decarbonizing the electricity sector holds significant importance as it can serve as a catalyst for the decarbonization of all other sectors, including:

  • Buildings, which are becoming increasingly electrified through the growing use of heat pumps
  • Electrified road transportation
  • Electricity-intensive industrial activities, such as cement, steel, and chemical production
  • Green hydrogen production

Now, let’s take a collective look at the avenues of investment needed to reach net-zero by 2050 in more detail.

Sector SubsectorAverage Capital Investment Needed Per Year 2021-2050Total Sector Investment Needed Per Year 2021-2050
The Power SectorZero-Carbon Power Generation$1300B$2400B
Power Networks$900B
Power Storage and Grid Flexibility$200B
BuildingsRetrofits$230B$500B
Heat Pumps$130B
Renewable Heating$140B
TransportRoad Charging Infrastructure$130B$240B
Aviation$70B
Shipping$40B
Carbon RemovalNatural Climate Solutions (NCS)$100B$130B
Hybrid and engineered carbon removal solutions$30B
Clean HydrogenProduction$40B$80B
Transport and storage$40B
IndustryChemicals$40B$70B
Steel$10B
Cement$10B
Aluminum$10B

All figures are in real 2021 U.S. dollars

Overall, the diversity of the table above underscores the multifaceted approach required for a low-carbon transition.

Is the World on Track to Reach Net-Zero?

In 2022, the global capital investment in the clean energy transition totaled $1.1 trillion—approximately one-third of the required annual average to reach net-zero.

With that said, it’s important to note that the $3.5 trillion figure is an average across 29 years. Opportunities to catch up still exist, although the window is closing quickly.

According to the Energy Transitions Commission, investments must double from their current levels to around $2 trillion by 2025 and peak at around $4.2 trillion by 2040.

To remain on track to net-zero, therefore, we must make significant and rapid investments in all sectors, with a primary focus on the power sector.

Learn more about how electric utilities and the power sector can lead on the path toward decarbonization here.

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Ranked: Which U.S. Utilities Have The Cleanest Electricity Generation?

In this chart, we rank the top U.S. utilities by the share of low-carbon sources in their owned electricity generations.

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Which Utilities Have The Cleanest Electricity Generation?

For the second year, Visual Capitalist and our sponsor National Public Utilities Council have developed the Annual Utility Decarbonization Index. The index quantifies and compares the status of decarbonization among the 47 largest investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in the United States, ranking them on six metrics based on publicly available 2021 data.

  • Metric 1: Fuel Mix
  • Metric 2: CO2 Emissions Intensity
  • Metric 3: Total CO2 Emissions
  • Metric 4: CO2 Emissions per Customer
  • Metric 5: Decarbonization Goals
  • Metric 6: Low-Carbon Investment

The graphic above gives a preview of the first metric’s results, which ranks U.S. utilities by the share of low-carbon sources in their owned electricity generations.

Let’s now dive into the included IOUs and their rankings.

Which Utilities Are Included In the Decarbonization Index?

The IOUs that were ranked in this year’s Utility Decarbonization Index are the 47 largest U.S. IOUs by their 2021 net owned and purchased electricity generations, which are as follows.

U.S. IOUs that had fewer than 2 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of owned generation were excluded from the report. Companies with blue outlines, on the other hand, represent those that have international operations in addition to their operations in the United States.

Which U.S. Utilities Had the Cleanest Generation in 2021?

The top 47 U.S. IOUs outlined above generated 2.7 billion MWh of electricity and served 68% of all U.S. electric customers in 2021.

Collectively, 60% of this generation came from fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, whereas the remaining 40% came from carbon-free energy sources, such as nuclear, wind, and solar.

But each utility’s fuel mix looked very different across the board. Let’s see which ones had the cleanest owned generation.

CompanyShare of Carbon-Free Sources (Renewables, Nuclear, Fuel Cells, Combined Heat & Power)Share of Fossil Fuels (Coal, Petroleum, Natural Gas, Petroleum Coke)
Constellation Energy (Exelon)90%10%
Avangrid86%14%
Consolidated Edison78%22%
Pacific Gas and Electric77%23%
Edison International (EIX)66%34%
Algonquin Power & Utilities66%34%
Public Service Enterprise Group57%43%
Avista Utilities54%46%
NextEra Energy53%47%
PNM Resources51%49%
NorthWestern Corporation50%50%
Xcel Energy49%51%
Dominion Energy48%52%
Evergy47%53%
Duke Energy42%58%
Entergy42%58%
Otter Tail Corporation41%59%
Berkshire Hathaway Energy37%63%
Pinnacle West Capital37%63%
DTE Energy Company33%67%
Hawaiian Electric Industries32%68%
Allette Energy31%69%
Southern Company30%70%
American Electric Power30%70%
TransAlta30%70%
MDU Resources29%71%
AES Corporation25%75%
Puget Sound Energy (PSE)23%77%
Alliant Energy21%79%
Ameren20%80%
NRG Energy19%81%
Portland General Electric19%81%
MGE Energy19%81%
Fortis Inc.17%83%
Black Hills Corporation17%83%
National Grid PLC17%83%
WEC Energy14%86%
Vistra11%89%
Consumers Energy9%91%
Emera9%91%
OG&E Energy6%94%
NiSource5%95%
PPL Corporation2%98%
Cleco Power LLC2%98%
CenterPoint Energy2%98%
FirstEnergy0%100%
Sempra Energy0%100%

Overall, nuclear power was the single largest source of clean electricity among these utility companies in 2021. Conversely, 17 IOUs used fossil fuels for more than 80% of their owned electricity generation, and some as high as 100%.

Download The 2023 Annual Utility Decarbonization Report

The 2023 Annual Utility Decarbonization Report is a deep dive into the state of decarbonization across the investor-owned utility sector in the United States.

What else does the report include?

  • The full Annual Utility Decarbonization Index 2023 with data breakdowns for each of the six metrics
  • ESG Report Card 2023
  • Sector highlights and challenges in 2021-22
  • Six Reasons for Decarbonizing Utilities
  • Decarbonization Strategies for U.S. Utilities

Download the free report now.

 

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