Thailand Renewable Energy

No 2050 100% renewable energy; 30-40% renewable energy by the year 2030

At present, Thailand does not have a clear commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050 as the country is still dependent on energy sources generated from fossil fuels. In the year 2050 Thailand will still be dependent upon energy generation from fossil fuels at-least to some extent. However, Thailand holds a very promising future in the short and long-term with respect to energy generation from the renewable energy sources. The reason for the expansion of power generation through renewable energy sources at present, is because of rapid foreign investments in renewable energy projects; and joint collaborations between Thailand and energy exporting private companies in countries like Japan. These relationships are proving to be beneficial in terms of providing the country with advanced technological infrastructures for increasing its power generation capacity from renewable energy sources.

To address strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stakeholders and policymakers on behalf of the Thai government jointly collaborated for implementing the low carbon green growth policy. The low carbon green growth policy suggests about pursuing economic activities, which are environmentally friendly. generates less carbon or carbon-free and are energy efficient. This policy places a growing emphasis upon using renewable energy sources like solar power, biomass/biofuels, hydroelectric and wind power.

Thailand also has a long-term renewable energy strategy in place, which was established in 2015 with the Alternative Energy Development Plan (2015-2036). The plan has the target of having 30-40% of Thailand’s energy based renewable energy. The Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) will significantly help in the boosting power generation from renewable energy. Achieving the country’s 30-40% renewable energy target by 2036, will require the country to have total renewable power-generating capacity of around 40,000 MW. Achieving the target 40,000 MW within 2036 will require increased investments and facilitation of new renewable energy projects by private companies’ vis-à-vis solar power and wind energy. Private companies at present are showing an increased interest in joining the renewable energy market, however they are unwilling to commit unless the Thai government sets standards and regulates the industry. To elaborate upon the amount of investments required for achieving the 40,000 MW, Cherdsak Wattanavijitkul, managing director of TPC Power Holding argues, “Since the capacity is due to double through [the government’s] policy, it should have appropriate regulations to govern the sector, as massive investment is about to be poured into it. The government should be ready for it or even set up a special committee to govern the industry”.

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United States Renewable Energy

United States—No 2050 national commitment, but Hawaii and 5 cities are committed

The United States has not made a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050. However, several cities have made the commitment with the hope of inspiring others to do the same. In fact, five cities including Aspen, CO, Burlington, VT, Greensburg, KS, Rock Port, MO, and Kodiak Island, AK are already powered 100% by renewable energy, according to the Sierra Club.

In addition, according to EcoWatch, the state of Hawaii is the first state committed to meeting its entire energy demand with renewables, with a target date of 2045. Part of the strength of Hawaii’s commitment to renewable energy comes from its bountiful capacity for rooftop solar power. HECO, Hawaii’s major public utility, also plans to use smart grid technology including demand management and energy storage to meet the state’s needs. The state employs a major tax credit program as well as a feed-in tariff to incentivize consumers to purchase and install solar panels

While no other state has committed to the 100% renewable energy target, many cities have made the commitment, including major cities such as Atlanta, GA (100% by 2035); Boulder, CO (100% by 2030); and San Jose, CA (100% by 2022). A major resource that cities are using to increase their percentage of renewable energy is a power purchasing plan allowing the city to purchase renewable energy from large solar or wind farms farther away—because these farms are removed from urban centers, they are able to cover large swaths of land capable of generating the electricity needed to power urban areas.

Notably, San Diego, CA, whose goal is to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2035, includes a plan for 90% of its vehicles to be electric by that same year. Many cities, including San Jose, CA, are also combining aggressive plans to increase the amount of renewable energy generated within the city by rooftop solar panels with plans to reduce energy consumption overall.

Although the US has no national commitment to 100% renewable energy, there is hope that cities and states will commit to the target, as domestic pressure from constituents and international pressure from other signatories of the Paris Agreement mounts.

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The Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” page:
Hawaii Enacts Nation’s First 100% Renewable Energy Standard (EcoWatch):
Hawaii’s HECO May Reach 100% Renewable Energy Target 5 Years Early (Clean Technica):
Cost of Solar Power in Hawaii:

United Kingdom Renewable Energy

United Kingdom—No 100% Commitment by 2050
Benchmark: Commitment to reduce overall emissions by 80% by 2050

The UK has not made a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050.

However, in accordance with the European Union’s submitted INDC as part of the Paris Agreement—in which the UK’s target is included—EU states are required to collectively reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Also, due to the 2008 Climate Change Act, the UK is legally bound to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Though these targets do not necessitate certain levels of uptake in renewable energy, high uptake levels would appear required in order to ensure that the targets are met. Mandated by the UK’s 3rd, 4th and 5th carbon budgets is a 37% emission reduction by 2020, 51% by 2025 and 57% by 2030 respectively. A key part of the carbon budgets’ plan has been a restructuring of the UK’s energy sector. This has taken the form of rapidly reducing the use of coal (with the aim for a complete phase out by 2050), to be replaced by gas and renewable sources. This has been extremely successful and has constituted the bulk of the UK’s 4.5% yearly emission reductions since 2012—to the extent that the government has recognized that potential further gains in the energy sector will eventually level out, so greater progress must be made elsewhere to make up for it. The carbon budgets detail how these goals will be achieved: auctioning large-scale renewable generation projects, providing a route to market for the cheapest low-carbon generation technologies, and supporting technological innovations. All of these are supported by locally-sourced materials and jobs but with energy security remaining the top priority (which has often been to the detriment of progress on renewables—as the government has persistently pursued fracking, and removed subsidies for renewable industries that are not yet well established).

Though perhaps not classified as renewable, the largest non-fossil fuel electricity generation project
planned in the UK is the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. When finished, it is projected to provide 7% of the UK’s total energy needs—from a low carbon source. However, there have been considerable concerns regarding the cost compared to the pay off —that it is far too expensive, and that the design is not feasible. Furthermore, if the carbon budget’s recommendations for energy efficiency measures were fully implemented it would result in a 7% decrease in energy demand anyway.

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Turkey Renewable Energy

Turkey—No 100% Commitment by 2050
Benchmark: 30% of total electricity demand and 10% of transportation sector demand covered by renewable energy by 2030

Turkey has not made a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050.

On the one hand, Turkey aims to meet a production portfolio in which renewable energy is at least 30% of total electricity demand, and 10% of the transportation sector demand by 2023. To meet this goal Turkey needs to reduce the energy intensity, the amount of energy consumed per unit GDP, to at least 20 percent by 2023 from the reference year 2011.

The share of renewable energy sources in electricity generation is planned to increase to at least 30% in 2023. The government is supporting the use of renewable energy sources such as hydraulics, wind, solar, and geothermal.

The country’s biggest renewable energy project is signed for Konya in March 2017. The solar power plant will be 1,000 MW. Following the signing of the contract, photovoltaic modules will be produced in a factory in Konya over 21 months. The plant is expected to produce power in 3 years. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has announced that a similar tender will be open for wind energy as well.

Spain Renewable Energy

Spain—No 100% Commitment by 2050
Benchmark: The Galacia regional government has committed to reach 100% renewables by 2050

Spain is still working towards its 2020 goal of having 20% of its total energy consumption derived from clean energy sources. However, the country as a whole does not have a clear path to pursue after 2020.
Each region of Spain can set its own goals that go beyond the ones set by the European parliament and the government itself. Galicia, for example, located in the northwest corner of Spain, is an autonomous community that is committed to having an economy based on 100% renewable energy by 2050. Right now, the renewable energy in Galicia represents 52.6% of its total energy produced.

The government of Spain recently let out contracts for as much as 3.9 billion euros to supply electricity from clean-energy sources to meet the goals for 2020. Bids were submitted promising to supply at least 2 gigawatts and as much as 3 gigawatts of power from clean energy sources, mostly wind power.
One of the bidders was Siemens Gamesa that is building a wind power park in Tenerife. Gas Natural FENOSA, another winning bidder, will invest 200 million euros in Galicia to create another wind power park. FENOSA, recently announced an alliance with the car dealer SEAT to promote the use of natural gas in the transportation industry.

According to the Iberic association of natural gas for mobility, the registrations of motor vehicles powered by natural gas in Spain increased by 133% in 2016. 6,100 motor vehicles powered by natural gas are now running across the country; of which almost 1,700 are small vehicles and more than 4,200 are heavy vehicles including buses and trucks.

In July, there was another auction from the Spanish government seeking to obtain contracts for 3 more gigawatts of energy from sources based on wind and photovoltaic power.

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Gas Natural Fenosa anuncia 200 MW de energía eólica en Galicia

South Korea Renewable Energy

South Korea—No 100% 2050 commitment
Benchmark: 11% renewable energy by 2035

South Korea did not make an explicit commitment for 2050. The longest plan for the country’s energy portfolio targets 2030-2035. South Korea established and announced the “Fourth Plan for New and Renewable Energy” in September 2014. It outlined detailed measures for the implementation of new and renewable energy. This plan suggests that South Korea focus on creating a new environment for new and renewable energy markets and transform its energy market from the current ‘government-led’ type to a new one led by ‘public-private partnerships.’

The South Korean government (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) publishes a New and Renewable Energy White Paper biennially. The latest version was published in October 2016 before the Moon Jae-in administration was inaugurated. According to this white paper, South Korea aims to increase the share of new and renewable energy from the current 3.6% (in 2014) to 9.7% by 2030, to 11% by 2035. The following table shows how South Korea will reach the goal with solar power and wind power that are likely to increase substantially according to the government’s plan. Solar power, geothermal, and waste heat are supposed to supply heat and electricity for houses and buildings.


(Source. METI, 2016 New and Renewable Energy White Paper)


During the 2017 presidential campaign, Moon Jae-in, as the frontrunner candidate, suggested pretty radical changes in the country’s energy policy. He proposed two phase-out plans, nuclear phase-out and coal phase-out. After his inauguration, South Korea shut down eight aged coal-powered plants and also committed to permanently shutting down Kori 1, the country’s oldest nuclear power plant. Therefore, it is likely that South Korea will expand its natural gas consumption in order to make up for the shortage of energy supply caused by these two plans. It will also increase the share of new and renewable energy even more aggressively beyond the current plan. President Moon appointed Paik Un-gyu as his first minister of trade industry and energy. Minister Paik was a professor of engineering at Hanyang University and an expert of renewable energy, and designed Moon’s election pledges for energy policies.


South Africa Renewable Energy

South Africa—NO 100% 2050 commitment
Benchmark: The construction of 37.4 GW of wind capacity and 17.6 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity by 2050

The electricity sector is the highest contributor to GHG emissions in South Africa. With blackouts experienced in 2008, and more looming as a constant threat, proper planning for the country’s energy security is essential to meeting overall economic growth targets. Yet, at the same time, the country has to honor its commitments made under the Paris Agreement. To that end, the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is the official government plan for new electricity generation capacity. The latest draft update, IRP2016, makes far-reaching proposals about the energy mix until 2050. The draft version was open for public comment and has not yet come into effect. The plan advocates the following likely scenarios, known as the ‘base case’:

  • Electricity demand will be between 310 and 355 TWh in 2030 (about 100 TWh lower than envisaged in the previous plan) with demand rising to between 390 and 530 TWh in 2050.
  • The construction of 37.4 GW of wind capacity and 17.6 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity between 2020 and 2050.
  • The gradual decommissioning of most existing coal power stations by 2050 in line with international carbon emission agreements.
  • A substantial increase (35.3 GW) in electricity generation from gas. Due to the high cost of gas it is generally used only as a backup.
  • The construction of just over 20 GW of nuclear power. But this would only gradually come on line between 2037 and 2050.

The draft IRP2016 has come under tremendous criticism, with some commentators calling it ‘lightweight and superficial’. Also, there are a number of glaring errors and omissions from the gazetted policy. The state-owned power utility, Eskom, is disgruntled about the proposed delay in increasing nuclear capability and has threatened to ignore key recommendations in the IRP2016. On the other hand, renewable energy proponents argue that the plan does not take into account the considerable cost-savings that can be realized with these green technologies in the next 20 to 30 years.

One program that could become a game-changer in the pursuit of renewable energy is the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), which was discussed in a previous Climate Scorecard report. The REIPPP is an auction program tasked with deploying 18,800 MW of renewable energy by 2030. If run properly, it shows much potential in harnessing the country’s abundant solar and wind power. The challenge will be in ensuring that Eskom does not renege on signing the necessary contracts with independent power producers.
There are many developing country leaders who understand the severity of climate change. One example is the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), where several African countries pledged to achieve 100% renewable energy between 2030 and 2050. Regrettably, South Africa is not a member of this forum and is lagging behind in implementing the necessary policies to adequately reduce our GHG emissions.

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For a critique of the draft IRP2016, see:
The original IRP2010 is available here:
The draft IRP2016 can be accessed here:

Saudi Arabia Renewable Energy

Saudi Arabia—No 2050 100% commitment
Benchmark: 9.5 GW of renewable energy supply by 2030

Saudi Arabia’s goals for using renewable energy to support its economy are listed in its INDC. They include scenario one: economic diversification with strong contribution from oil export revenues. In this scenario, the revenues from exporting oil will be invested in sectors such as renewable energy sources to strengthen economic growth. One of the actions and plans to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the pursuit of renewable energy projects.

There are currently 30 planned projects and programs that will produce 9.5GW of renewable energy. The Round 1 of the National Renewable Energy Program includes a 300 MW Sakaka solar PV project and a Dumat Al Jandal 400 MW wind plant project being launched by Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources (MEIM). These efforts are part of 60 greenfield projects tendered over the next seven years towards the target of 9.5 GW of renewables by 2030 in line with Vision 2030.

The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) has shortlisted 27 companies as qualified bidders for the 300 MW Sakaka solar plant project. It has also invited companies to submit Request for Qualification (RFQ) to implement a 400 MW wind power plant. The Project will involve the development of a greenfield wind power plant near the cities of Dumat Al Jandal and Sakaka, in the northern region of Saudi Arabia.

Learn More

The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the UNFCCC. Accessed from
Saudi Energy Minister Announces ‘new phase’ in Kingdom’s power generation as first round bids for Renewable Energy Projects opened. The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), Press release, April 17, 2017. Accessed from
International Companies Visit Sakaka Site and Prepare Bids for Saudi Arabia’s First Utility Scale Solar PV Plant. The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), Press release, May 18, 2017. Accessed from
Saudi Arabia Issues Request for Qualifications for 400 MW Wind Power Project in Dumat Al Jandal The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), Press release, July 16, 2017. Accessed from

Russia Renewable Energy

Russia—No 100%2050 commitment
Benchmark: 11% by 2030

Historically, Russia has relied on fossil fuel sources of energy due to its large amount of natural reserves. Russia has the largest reserves of natural gas and one of the largest coal and oil deposits in the world. Russia’s budget heavily depends on fossil fuels which accounts for 35% of the federal budget revenue and 60% of exports. According to statistics, the main energy sources used in Russia are gas (43%) and coal (25%), whereas only 3.6% of total energy consumption comes from renewables.

There are several reasons for such a low ratio of renewable energy sources, including: high prime cost of renewable energy production as compared to fossil fuels, lack of national grid systems that would allow easy transfer of energy from its source, and the dominance of big oil and gas corporations on the market. Therefore, the process of the development of the renewable energy sector is complex and requires significant changes in various spheres of the Russian economy and industry.

Nevertheless, Russia has taken certain actions towards the development of their renewable energy sector. There was a government decree No. 449 of May 28, 2013 (as amended on February 28, 2017) “on the mechanism for stimulating the use of renewable energy sources in the wholesale electricity and capacity market”. Under this regulation, renewable projects are provided with a set of stimulus measures such as: removal of barriers when connecting renewable energy facilities to the larger energy network, refund of payment for technological connection, subsidizing interest rates on loans for development, and public funding for research and pilot projects.

According to Government Decree No.1472-R as of July 28, 2015, the amount of renewable energy generated in Russia will reach 6GW by 2024 (the reference standard scenario) and the share of renewable energy sources in the coming years should increase and reach 4.9% by 2030 (see table below).

Moreover, a positive case scenario (REmap) has been published by the International Renewable Energy Agency. It states that there is a possibility that the share of renewable energy generated in Russia will reach 11% by 2030 with the capacity of wind generation reaching 23GW, solar generation 5GW and bioenergy units 26GW.

The table above shows that the major focus in Russia in the localization percentage has been lowered from 65% to 40% as of 2017.

Renewable energy production locations are concentrated along Russia’s southern boarder due to the more favorable climate conditions found there and a better developed national grid in those regions.

Figure 1: Location of major Russian renewable energy sources (as of 2015)

At the moment, the biggest renewable energy project being constructed in Russia is by the Finish company Fortrum. It is a wind generation park located in the Ulyanovsk region with a capacity of 35MW (using Chinese units). This project is expected to be commissioned in the coming year.

Learn More

Renewable Energy Prospects for the Russian Federation (REmap working paper)
Development of renewable energy in Russia report
“Russia struggles to unleash clean energy potential”

Nigeria Renewable Energy

Nigeria—No 100% 2050 commitment
Benchmark: 30% renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2030

The Federal Government of Nigeria, in its National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP, 2015 – 2030) intends to achieve 30% renewable energy in the country’s energy mix by year 2030. The target renewable energy share of installed electricity capacity (excluding medium and large hydro) is 27% and 28% by years 2020 and 2030 (NACOP, 2016).

Plans for Achieving Renewable Energy Goals

The following measures have been taken by the government to promote the use of renewable energy in Nigeria and increase its contribution to the country’s energy mix:

1. Existing policies and plans such as: the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy that supports renewable energy use; the National Policy on Public Private Partnership that provides guidelines for public and private partnership for development projects/programs; and the National Biofuel Policy to promote biofuel production and use.

There also is an existing National Renewable Energy Master Plan that outlines a road map for increasing renewable energy, as well as a Rural Electrification Strategy and Implementation Plan for providing power to rural areas by means of renewable energy.

2. Planned regulatory instruments such as Feed-in Tariffs and competitive procurement programs for photovoltaic, biomass, wind, and small & medium hydro plants.

3. Capacity development components such as the GIZ-Nigerian Energy Support Program to develop professional and technical courses on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

4. Financial instruments such as soft loans, subsidies and grants for renewable energy projects

Projects to Contribute the Largest Amount of Renewable Energy

A number of on-going projects will generate substantial amounts of energy from renewable sources.

The Power Africa project of the United States Agency for International Development is expected to support 14 utility-scale solar independent power projects totaling over 1125 MW to be supplied to the national grid for residential and industry use. The Power Africa project will also support off-grid provision of energy to another 70,000 homes and small businesses through rooftop solar panels (USAID, 2017).

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Nigeria’s renewable energy action plans are available here:
More information on the USAID Power Africa project is available at: