Growing renewables too slow creates a gap for coal
Renewable energy is growing rapidly – but not fast enough to meet a strong rebound in global electricity demand this year, according to the latest report from the International Energy Agency.
And the Electricity Market Report The IEA highlights a sharp increase in the use of coal-fired power to meet the growing demand for electricity, which risks pushing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector to record levels in 2022.
“Renewable energy is experiencing impressive growth in many parts of the world, but it is still not where it needs to be to put us on the path to achieving net zero emissions by mid-century,” he said. said Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the IEA Energy Markets and Security.
“As the economy rebounds from the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the generation of electricity from fossil fuels. To move to a sustainable path, we need to massively increase investments in clean energy technologies, especially renewables and energy efficiency.
The report says global demand for electricity is expected to grow nearly 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022 due to the post-pandemic recovery.
Good news, based on current policies and economic trends, the production of electricity from renewable energies – including hydropower, wind and photovoltaics – is set to grow strongly around the world over the course of time. over the next two years – by 8% in 2021 and 6% in 2022.
However, even with this strong growth, renewables will only be able to meet about half of the expected increase in global demand for electricity in those two years, according to the IEA report.
Electricity generation from fossil fuels is expected to cover 45% of additional demand in 2021 and 40% in 2022, with nuclear accounting for the rest.
As a result, the electricity sector’s CO2 emissions – which decreased in 2019 and 2020 – are expected to increase by 3.5% in 2021 and 2.5% in 2022, bringing them to a record high.
On demand: wholesale energy markets in Europe and the new EU-wide certification system: Fit for 55?
Coal-fired power generation is expected to increase by nearly 5% this year and a further 3% in 2022, potentially reaching an all-time high. This goes against the path set out in the IEA’s recent roadmap for Net zero by 2050, which sees nearly three-quarters of global emission reductions between 2020 and 2025 take place in the electricity sector.
To achieve this decline, the trajectory foresees a decrease in the production of electricity from coal by more than 6% per year, which indeed constitutes an enigma.
The full report can be viewed online.