The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has estimated that the global energy transformation investment in renewable energy needs to be scaled up significantly and urgently. IRENA believes that to put the world on track with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, cumulative investment in renewable energy needs to reach US$27 trillion in the 2016-2050 period. And according to the World Bank, a significant proportion of that needs to be invested in critical minerals.
A World Bank Group report estimates that over three billion tonnes of minerals and metals will be needed to deploy wind, solar, and geothermal power, as well as energy storage, if the world is to achieve a below-2°C future.
In recent months, countries and regions across the globe have unveiled significant measures and budgets to support clean energy funding.
This includes backing for many of the critical minerals that will be the backbone of clean energy technology developments.
The European Union (EU) was an early mover on clean energy: it claims it was the first major power in the world to set, in 2009, ambitious energy and climate targets for 2020 (20% greenhouse gas emission reduction, 20% in renewable energy, and 20% energy efficiency).
Ten years later, the EU says it was broadly on track to achieve these objectives, proving it is possible to reduce emissions and achieve GDP growth at the same time. Since then, renewable energy has become much cheaper.
Moreover, with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the EU pledged to move further ahead and achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 40% by 2030. In order to respond to this challenge and continue to lead the global energy transition, the Commission proposed in 2016 a set of ambitious new rules called the “Clean Energy Package for all Europeans”.
With this package, the Commission addressed five dimensions of the Energy Union: energy security, the internal energy market, energy efficiency, decarbonization of the economy, and research, innovation and competitiveness.
Meanwhile, the Europe 2020 Critical Raw Materials list includes clean energy minerals such as antimony, gallium, germanium, heavy rare earth elements, indium, light rare earth elements, lithium, niobium, natural graphite and vanadium.
According to the US Department of Energy, a clean energy revolution is taking place across America, underscored by the steady expansion of the U.S. renewable energy sector.
The Department says the clean energy industry generates hundreds of billions in economic activity and is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.
It stated that there is tremendous economic opportunity for the countries that invent, manufacture, and export clean energy technologies.
The U.S. government believes responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources – including solar, wind, water, geothermal, bioenergy, and nuclear – will help ensure the nation’s continued leadership in clean energy.
Moving forward, the energy department will continue to drive strategic investments in the transition to a cleaner, domestic, and more secure energy future.
Through its “Investing in Canada” infrastructure plan, the Canadian government is funding more than C$180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
The government has noted that emerging renewable projects face higher risks, costs, and more regulatory issues than projects using established renewable energy sources.
This programme mitigates the risk of emerging renewable power projects through federal government funding, allowing emerging renewables to play a larger role in Canada’s electricity supply mix.
The programme will establish new industries in Canada by supporting renewable power technologies.
Canada has world-leading clean power resources, and its government understands that one of the most important ways to fight climate change is to harness these resources to power homes, businesses, and lives.
The government believes that investing in clean energy projects, including geothermal energy, will invigorate local economies, drive job creation, and curb pollution.
The Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA believes that critical minerals, “such as those used in the latest battery and renewable energy technologies, is an area of huge growth potential for Australia.”
Australia is aiming to guide A$18 billion of government investment over the next 10 years and drive at least A$70 billion of total new investment in low emissions technologies in Australia by 2030. It believes this will support 130,000 jobs by 2030 and avoid in the order of 250 million tonnes of emissions by 2040.
According to the government, new investments in clean hydrogen and carbon capture technologies are set to create around 2,500 jobs, support Australian industry and manufacturing into the future, and further drive down Australia’s emissions.
The country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, says the world is changing rapidly and Australia will need to be competitive in a new energy economy to support the jobs of Australians, especially in heavy industries and regional areas that depend on affordable and reliable energy.
“It is essential we position Australia to succeed by investing now in the technologies that will support our industries into the future, with lower emissions energy that can support Australian jobs,” Mr Morrison said.
On behalf of the country’s government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) recently launched the A$71.9 million Future Fuels Fund, announced as part of the 20/21 Federal Budget, aimed at addressing barriers to the roll-out of new vehicle technologies.
The first round will see A$16.5 million of grant funding made available to fund battery electric vehicle, public, fast-charging infrastructure to expand the network and reduce blackspots.
The UK government recently revealed new plans to make the country a world leader in green energy.
The announcement is part of the government’s commitment towards net-zero emissions by 2050 and will support 60,000 jobs, it claims.
The UK prime minister Boris Johnson has set out new plans to Build Back Greener by making the UK the world leader in clean wind energy – creating jobs, slashing carbon emissions, and boosting exports.
Funding of £160 million will be made available to upgrade ports and infrastructure across communities in Teesside and Humber in Northern England, as well as in Scotland and Wales, to increase offshore wind capacity, which is already the largest in the world and currently meets 10% of the country’s electricity demand.
This new investment will see around 2,000 construction jobs rapidly created and will enable the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs directly and indirectly by 2030 in ports, factories, and supply chains, manufacturing the next generation of offshore wind turbines and delivering clean energy to the UK.
Through this, UK businesses, including smaller suppliers, will be well-placed to win orders and further investment from energy companies around the world and increase their competitive standing on the global stage, as well as supporting low-carbon supply chains.
Mr Johnson has also set out further commitments to ensure that, within the decade, the UK will be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution as it progresses towards net-zero emissions by 2050.