Which Nations are Leading the Energy Transition?

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The global shift towards renewable energy generation is gaining momentum. Nearly every country across the globe is implementing new clean strategy, policy, and investment. However, there are a handful of countries taking notably impressive strides in the energy transition. In this clean energy landscape round-up, we explore the leading efforts of China, Norway, the United Arab Emirates, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Here’s our breakdown of how each of these nations are pushing to win the race to decarbonisation.

China

Spearheading Renewable Energy Deployment

  1. Leading in Solar PV and Wind Installations: In 2023, China commissioned as much solar PV capacity as the entire world did in 2022. Moreover, China saw a 66% increase in wind power additions during the same period. For the world’s largest emitter, this marking a significant milestone in global emission reduction and renewable energy deployment.
  2. Huge Global Renewable Capacity: China is expected to account for nearly 60% of new renewable capacity globally by 2028.
  3. Pro Renewable Legislative Framework: Despite subsidy reductions, China’s onshore wind and solar PV deployment continues to accelerating. This is as a result of robust pro-renewable policy.
  4. Electric Vehicle Adoption: As of early 2024, China boasts approximately twenty million electric vehicles on its roads, the highest number globally.

Norway

Leading in Hydropower and Carbon Capture Leadership

  1. Hydropower Dominance and Renewable Integration: Norway’s hydropower accounts for 92% of its electricity generation. This is higher than any other country in the world.
  2. Carbon Capture and Storage Innovations: Norway leads in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Their operational projects like Sleipner and Snøhvit, aim to capturing 5 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2030 through CCS value chain initiatives such as The Longship.
  3. Zero-Emission Vehicle Support: Norway is committed to zero-emission vehicles, with electric vehicles projected to represent 91% of new passenger vehicle sales by 2025. This is supported by robust incentives and an extensive charging infrastructure.
  4. Leadership in Sustainable Transport and Buildings: Norway has made significant strides in electrifying rail transport (77% electrified) and meeting building energy demands (78% supplied by electricity).

The United Arab Emirates

Advancing Solar Energy and Energy Efficiency

  1. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park: The UAE hosts the world’s largest single-site solar power plant. Here they generate 1.63 GW annually and offset 1.4 million tonnes of CO2. There are plans for significant capacity expansion by 2030.
  2. Ambitious Renewable Energy Targets: The UAE aims to triple its renewable energy contribution by 2030. This will be supported by increasing installed clean energy capacity from 14.2 GW to 19.8 GW.
  3. Innovative Carbon Capture Initiatives: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s invested $3.1 billion in carbon capture technology. This is aims to facilitate 5 million tonnes of CO2 capture and storage annually by 2030.

India

Scaling Solar and Green Hydrogen Initiatives

  1. Rapid Solar Power Expansion: India aims to install 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030. Their goal is for solar and onshore wind to contribute 92% of incremental capacity in 2022.
  2. National Hydrogen Mission: India’s $2.4 billion National Hydrogen Mission aims to produce 5 million metric tonnes of hydrogen by 2030. Extensive budget allocations and viability gap funding for energy storage systems are in place to support this.
  3. Legislative Support for Renewable Energy: The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022 mandates renewable energy quotas for large energy-intensive consumers. This aims to facilitate renewable integration in hard to abate sectors.
  4. Decarbonisation and Electrification: India’s focus on decarbonised energy generation and electrification aim to reduce emission intensity by 45% by 2030.

The United Kingdom

Leading in Offshore Wind and Energy Storage

  1. Offshore Wind Capacity Expansion: The UK aims for 50 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. This will be achieved by projects like the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, set to be the world’s largest, powering six million homes. Read more here from offshore wind expert and Storelectric advisor Professor Simon Hogg, on the UK’s global leadership in this area.
  2. Advancements in Energy Storage: From 2.5 GW in 2022 to a projected 13 GW by 2030, the UK’s investments in energy storage technologies aim to support grid stability and integrate more renewable power into our energy mix.
  3. Coal Phase-out and Renewable Adoption: The UK has phased out coal from power generation ahead of schedule. They also aim to significantly increase solar energy generation capacity to 70 GW by 2035.
  4. Green Hydrogen and Sustainable Transport: Pilot projects in green hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels by 2030 align with the UK’s strategy to target traditionally fossil fuel reliant sectors like heavy industry and transportation.
  5. International Climate Finance and Policy Initiatives: The UK’s International Climate Finance Strategy aims to double funding for climate projects, fostering global partnerships and accelerating climate action through financial and policy support.

The United States

Investing in a Sustainable Energy Transition

  1. Energy Transition Index (ETI) Performance and Sustainability: Ranked 12th globally on the ETI 2023, the US has improved its score by 10% in the past decade, focusing on reducing energy intensity and CO2 emissions per capita by 20% and 22% respectively since 2014.
  2. Policy Initiatives: The US has implemented robust policies including ambitious GHG emission reduction targets, renewable energy incentives, and state-level standards, affirming its leadership in sustainable energy.
  3. Clean Energy Research: The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) supports innovation in clean tech projects, investing over $20 billion in hydrogen, carbon capture, and energy storage to spur private sector investments.
  4. Renewables Growth: Upcoming solar projects are set to increase the USA’s solar capacity (operated by the electric power sector) by 38%, reaching 131 GW by the end of 2024 (up from 91GW in 2023).


The efforts of China, Norway, UAE, India, the UK, and the USA are shaping the future of our global energy landscape. However, they are not working alone. Many other countries are also taking dedicated steps towards decarbonisation, which is crucial. Only through international collaboration and dedication can we, as a global community, achieve our climate objectives. The countries highlighted in this article, alongside numerous others, are not only expanding their renewable energy capacities but also pioneering novel clean technologies. By leading in renewable energy generation, advancing carbon capture technologies, and investing in grid modernisation and clean energy research, these nations not only set a global example but also actively demonstrate the feasibility of international decarbonisation.

Sources

  • DNV Energy Transition Report
  • IEA Energy Report
  • IEA Net Zero by 2050 Analysis
  • World Economic Forum Effective Energy Transition Report

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