Tracking clean energy progress

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Courtesy of International Energy Agency

Each year, the IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress (TCEP) report examines developments across a range of clean energy sectors and technologies. The TCEP uses benchmarks for 2025 as modelled in Energy Technology Perspectives 2017, as well as the milestones identified in the IEA Technology Roadmaps. Measuring against these benchmarks provides an assessment of whether technologies, energy savings and emissions reduction measures are on track to achieve the longer-term emissions objectives by 2060.

The report evaluates whether a technology or sector is on track, needs further improvement, or is not on track to meet these targets. Trends are assessed with reference to technology penetration, market creation and technology development. Questions used to evaluate progress include: What is the current rate of technology deployment? What share of the overall energy mix does the technology represent? What mechanisms are in place to enable and encourage technology deployment, including government policies and regulations? What is the level of private-sector involvement in technology progress through deployment?  

In 2016, 3 of the 26 tracked technologies were on track towards a sustainable energy transition: onshore wind and solar, electric vehicles, and energy storage. While these technologies represent only a small share of the total energy system, they are rapidly scaling up and continue to strengthen their position as mainstream energy solutions. Meanwhile eight technologies are significantly off-track, requiring renewed policy focus. Only three of these “off-track” technologies saw significant (and promising) improvements over the past year.

Overcoming the barriers to further progress across many of these sectors and technologies will require, in particular, a robust scaling-up of public and private clean energy RD&D investment. This year’s special feature addresses the scarcity of existing information about current public and private investment patterns, and offers suggestions for improvement going forward.

Explore this year’s TCEP in our interactive dashboard.

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