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Energy taxonomy: Classifications for the energy transition

This report proposes a comprehensive classification of energy sources and products to address the lack of standardised global energy statistics – an issue that continues to undermine effective policy-making and international collaboration in the context of the energy transition.


Despite the growing importance of renewables such as solar and wind in global energy discussions, a key challenge remains; the lack of standardised energy statistics is hindering the comparison of data across nations, energy sources and time. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has therefore proposed its own comprehensive energy taxonomy to unify and clarify energy data, which is vital for effective policy-making and international collaboration.

Current energy classifications inadequately address the nuances of renewable energy sources, especially in the context of the climate crisis. IRENA's proposed taxonomy focuses on the critical distinction between renewable and non-renewable energy sources. It goes beyond traditional classifications by categorising synthetic fuels like hydrogen based on their origins, and introducing a new segment for energy storage to bring clarity to the diverse sources of energy used in storage technologies.

The IRENA energy taxonomy is an evolving tool, designed to improve the precision of energy statistics in line with global standards. It is important to note that the taxonomy is not for carbon accounting, which follows separate international guidelines. IRENA encourages feedback and aims to integrate these classifications into its own methodologies, contributing to more accurate energy measurements and supporting the global energy transition.