IEA crowns solar ‘king of energy’ in World Energy Outlook


The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its annual World Energy Outlook, which focuses on how Covid-19 will change the industry in the long-term.

The outlook models four different scenarios, looking at different durations for the pandemic and public attitudes to decarbonisation. It predicts that bringing the pandemic ‘under control’ in 2021 would lead to energy demand returning to 2019 levels by 2023.

IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol said: “Despite a record drop in global emissions this year, the world is far from doing enough to put them into decisive decline. The economic downturn has temporarily suppressed emissions, but low economic growth is not a low-emissions strategy – it is a strategy that would only serve to further impoverish the world’s most vulnerable populations.

“There are no shortcuts; we need profound changes in our energy system, guided by good, righteous energy policies.”

In the short-term, the Outlook expects global energy demand to fall by 5% in 2020 as a result of Covid-19. While oil demand takes the hardest hit, net renewable generation slightly rose over the same period.

Because of this, 2020 would see a 7% fall in CO? emissions. However, energy investment fell by 18% over the same time period.

IEA outlook predicts a renewable energy future

Birol said: “I’d dare to announce that solar is the new king of global energy generation. Based on policies in place today, it is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022.”

Chief energy modeller Laura Cozzi said this meant solar will produce more electricity over the next 20 years than coal has produced over the last 20 years. Before 2040, the agency expects the addition of more than 4,000TWh of generation. She continued: “The outlook for solar could be even stronger if we adopted more stringent policies to meet international climate goals.”

The report summary says solar projects now offer some of the cheapest electricity generation ever seen. Hydroelectric power would continue to be the largest source of renewable energy, but solar would grow fastest, followed by onshore and offshore wind.

– Source(s): Power Technology by Matthew Farmer on 15, October 2020