Tracking Clean Energy: 2017

Energy systems around the world are undergoing substantial changes. Many of these shifts are being driven by purposeful government policies, whether to put a country on a low-carbon transition path, reduce air pollution, secure energy independence and security, or reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Other changes are being driven by external forces, including broader movements in energy markets or by deep societal transformations such as the increased use of information and communications technologies in every wake of life.

(IEA) – In order to navigate this ever-changing energy landscape, governments, companies, and other stakeholders need information. It is critical to know where we are before knowing where we want to go. What is the existing state of technologies across different parts of the energy sector, where are governments steering their energy systems, what progress is being made and how can their goals be achieved efficiently and cost-effectively? The IEA Tracking Clean Energy Progress (TCEP) report provides such a tool, and can help governments, companies, and other stakeholders build cleaner and more sustainable energy systems. Different technologies will of course be more or less relevant in different countries, which is why TCEP takes a broad and technology-neutral approach that covers a full range of energy subsectors – from bioenergy to nuclear, from building envelopes to key industries, from solar photovoltaics to carbon capture and storage (CCS). This year, the report includes a special feature on clean energy innovation, which brings the world’s best data on public and private investment in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in one place.

Summary of the IEA TCEP Report

In 2016, 3 of the 26 tracked technologies were “green”, that is, on track toward a sustainable energy transition: more mature variable renewables (onshore wind and solar), electric vehicles, and energy storage. While presently representing only a small share of the total energy system, these technologies are rapidly scaling up and continue to strengthen their position as mainstream energy solutions.

Sufficient progress is not being delivered in most other technologies. Fifteen technologies are “orange”, that is they are showing advances, but with more effort needed to become “green”. On a positive note, within these 15 “orange” technologies, 10 showed recent improvements, while only one exhibited recent negative developments.

Finally, eight technologies are red, that is, significantly off-track and means that they require renewed policy focus. Only three of these off-track” technologies saw significant (and promising) recent improvements over the past year.

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The full report can be found here from the International Energy Agency.

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