Most Clean Energy Tech Is Not on Track to Meet Climate Goals
CONCENTRATING SOLAR AND CCS One category classified as not meeting SDS goals is concentrating solar power. In 2019, CSP generation worldwide grew by 34%, surpassing IEA’s annual goal of average growth in the sector of nearly 24% through 2030. But the overall trend from the last decade suggests that IEA’s SDS goals for 2025 and 2030 are still far out of reach, the report said. Between 2019 and 2025, global CSP generation would need to more than triple to meet the technology’s SDS goal, according to the report. “It’s just not enough to get us where we need to go each year,” Turk said. In 2019, Israel, China and South Korea contributed the most to CSP’s growth, while China, Morocco and South Africa are expected to expand their capacity significantly this decade, the report said. In the United States, however, CSP is one of many clean energy technologies whose potential has not been fully harnessed, said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. “We’re lucky in the United States that we have immense renewable resources,” Wetstone said. “We need to be better at tapping them. Concentrated solar could certainly be part of that.” Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in the electric power sector was another “not on track” technology cited by IEA. Only two large-scale CCUS power projects are currently operational—the Petra Nova project in Texas and the Boundary Dam project in Canada—with a combined capture capacity of 2.4 million tons of CO2 annually. That’s behind the 310 million tons per year outlined under the group’s SDS by 2030, IEA said. Fourteen CCUS power generation projects are in development worldwide. Combined with Petra Nova and Boundary Dam, there is a potential capture capacity of more than 36 million tons per year, IEA said. To reach 310 million tons each year by 2030, CO2 capture rates and final investment decisions would have to increase substantially, however, the Paris-based agency said. Despite some CCUS progress, the technology isn’t scaling up as quickly as it needs to to reach SDS decarbonization levels, Turk said. If emissions reductions don’t come from carbon capture, he said, then they’ll need to come from an additional technology or source. “That’s why we stress, because the goals are so ambitious to reach, you need to have a variety of technology tools,” Turk said.