Uninterrupted Tech Supply Chains key to Fast Transition To RE

By Outlook Planet Desk April 04, 2023

Participants at the second G20 Energy Transition Working Group meeting examined how quick adoption of renewable energy (RE) will support our Sustainable Development Goals' desired outcomes

Uninterrupted Tech Supply Chains key to Fast Transition To RE
Rapid adoption of renewable energy (RE) will contribute to the desired effects of our Sustainable Development Goals.

Only four nations have contributed 70 per cent of the world's solar PV exports over the past ten years. Similar to wind, in the past ten years, only four countries accounted for more than 80 per cent of global exports, according to a new study “Developing Resilient Renewable Energy Supply Chains for Global Clean Energy Transition”  by think-tank CEEW. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, commissioned the research to provide information for the G20 Energy Transition Working Group (ETWG) discussions.The report was launched at the event with its research findings supporting the dialogue on Diversifying Renewables & Critical Minerals Supply Chains to Advance Energy Transition, held this week in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, as part of the second Energy Transition Working Group meeting. 

The research underlined the point that rapid adoption of renewable energy (RE) will contribute to the desired effects of our Sustainable Development Goals as well as the decarbonisation of the world's electricity networks. 

“However, a speedy and risk-proof transition to RE will only be possible if countries can secure access to uninterrupted and affordable supply chains of key technologies,” says the report. 

This paper details the current layout of the world's supply chains for green hydrogen, lithium-ion batteries, onshore and offshore wind, solar photovoltaic (solar PV), and onshore and offshore wind. 

The report examines the manufacturing environment for crucial elements in these supply chains, including requirements for key minerals, skills, logistics, infrastructure, and related innovations. It finds that a small number of countries have the majority of the world's manufacturing capacity for solar, wind, battery, and green hydrogen technology. 

Although their prices have significantly dropped, wind turbines, lithium-ion batteries, and solar panels have all seen steady price increases over the past ten years.

Green hydrogen is still in the early stages of development and requires teamwork to scale it effectively. Just 8 GW/year of electrolyser production capacity had been put into operation globally.

Finally, the report captures the evolution of exports and imports of key components and equipment in the aforementioned sectors over the last decade – 2012 to 2021. This analysis assesses the concentration and dependency of key renewable energy components and products.

According to the research, expanding investments across supply chains and opening up new supply channels would help to fulfil the rising demand for clean technologies.

To encourage the use of the most cutting-edge technologies, it is crucial to enable co-development of innovations.

For new and growing RE technologies like green hydrogen, the creation of globally recognised standards and certification systems is necessary.

In his keynote address Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, said, “We hope and expect that the deliberations today will help identify a set of collective changes that will put the world on the path to rapid scaling-up of renewable energy, while ensuring energy security, affordability and better quality of life for our people.” Bhalla pointed out that a string of economic setbacks have made the world vulnerable to dangers, which is slowing down the speed of the global transition to renewable energy and raising questions about energy security. 

The event witnessed the launch of another report “Addressing Vulnerabilities in the Supply Chain of Critical Minerals” by International Energy Agency (IEA), Institute of Transportation Studies UC Davis and World Resources Institute India (WRII).