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13 Dec 2023

COP28 Supercharges Plan to Triple Renewables


At the COP28 climate summit held in Dubai, over 100 countries committed to tripling their renewable energy capacity by 2030. This ambitious goal was one of the less disputed pledges made at the conference.

However, the specifics of how this rapid acceleration in the renewable energy sector creates problems looking for solutions in order to meet a looming decarbonization deadline. 

Anders Opedal, the CEO of Equinor, a leading renewable energy developer from Norway, pointed out that while this goal is attainable, there are several challenges that need to be addressed. These include obtaining permits, securing leases, and establishing grid connections. 

This commitment by these countries signifies a massive push towards a more sustainable and green future, but the path to achieving these targets requires careful planning and execution.

Where does the renewable energy sector need to focus to bring this lofty goal into reality? Let's break it down.

Speed of Energy Transition

The rate at which renewable energy needs to be adopted and scaled is unprecedented. This rapid transition could face resistance from various sectors and require significant changes in energy infrastructure. Any slow down in momentum puts this goal in jeopardy. There is sizable conflict over terminology in the plan from the fossil fuel industry; specifically over the terms "reduction" versus "phase out."


The commitment to tripling renewable energy capacity requires substantial funding. Meeting past financial commitments and transforming climate finance will be a major challenge. 

Wealthy countries that are arguably the most responsible for the climate change pledged a combined total of just over $700 million to the Loss and Damage Fund – the equivalent of less than 0.2% of the irreversible economic and non-economic losses developing countries are facing from global heating every year.

The UAE, which hosted COP28, pledged $30 billion to a new fund specifically for investing in climate-friendly projects, while the  EU announced an investment of €2.3 billion from its budget to support the energy transition within Europe. 


Fossil Fuel Dependency

Many countries still heavily rely on fossil fuels for their energy needs. Shifting away from these traditional sources towards renewable energy is a complex task that involves socio-economic considerations. 

The fossil fuel industry isn't going into a transition without a fight. The opposition to phasing out fossil fuels at COP28 primarily stems from countries and organizations like members of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and other oil-producing nations.

Sultan Al Jaber, the president of COP28, was quoted by The Guardian as stating there's “no science” to suggest the need for a complete phase-out of fossil fuels.

OPEC members have reportedly resisted including fossil fuels in the phase-out plan at COP28. The head of OPEC urged members to reject any agreement that “targets” fossil fuels, according to Al Jazeera.

The final draft of the COP28 agreement drew criticism for only calling for a reduction, rather than a phase-out, of fossil fuel production. This move was seen by some as a concession to fossil fuel-dependent nations and industries.

This opposition underscores the complex dynamics at play in global climate negotiations, where economic interests often clash with environmental goals.

Technological Challenges

Some renewable technologies are still in their early stages of development or not yet commercially viable at a large scale, such as certain types of energy storage needed to deal with the intermittency of wind and solar power.

Investments will need to be made to ensure the speed and efficiency of a transition by the 2030 deadline. 

Regulatory and Policy Hurdles

There are numerous regulatory and policy barriers that need to be overcome, such as permitting, leases, and grid connections. If anything can spur action into overcoming these hurdles, it's the bottom line.  Studies have shown that delaying climate policies can hurt economic growth. Policies that include greenhouse gas taxes are needed to achieve a 25% reduction in emissions, but these can be politically unpopular.


The existing energy infrastructure in many countries is built for fossil fuels, not renewable energy. Upgrading this infrastructure to accommodate a significant increase in renewable energy is a massive undertaking, but one that must be done to get alternative energy sources like solar online. 

Looking to join the 2030 charge towards decarbonization? Contact US Solar Supplier to get your project online in 2024.