According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy produced from renewable sources will overtake energy prepared from coal and will become the world’s largest source of electricity generation by the middle of this decade.
The International Energy Agency’s Renewables 2022 report, released on Tuesday, predicts a significant shift in the world’s energy mix at a time of significant volatility and geopolitical tension.
“The first truly global energy crisis, triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has sparked unprecedented momentum for renewables,” it said.
“Renewables [will] become the largest source of global electricity generation by early 2025, surpassing coal,” it added.
Renewable energy sources will represent nearly 40% of global power generation in 2027, timed to coincide with a decrease in the usage of coal, natural gas, and nuclear power generation, according to the IEA’s “main-case forecast”.
The timing and release of this report coincides with a period global energy markets are experiencing significant disruption as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
According to Eurostat, the Kremlin was the EU’s largest supplier of both natural gas and petroleum oils in 2021. However, Russian gas exports to the European Union have fallen this year as member states sought to deplete the Kremlin’s war chest.
As a result, major European economies have been scrambling to secure supplies from alternative sources for the coming colder months — and beyond.
The IEA emphasized the consequences of the current geopolitical situation in a statement released alongside its report.
“The global energy crisis is driving a sharp acceleration in installations of renewable power, with total capacity growth worldwide set to almost double in the next five years,” it said.
“Energy security concerns caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have motivated countries to increasingly turn to renewables such as solar and wind to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels, whose prices have spiked dramatically,” it added.
This upward revision by the IEA of its to its renewable power forecast is its largest-ever. According to the latest forecast by the IEA, global renewable power generation capacity will increase by almost 2,400 gigatonnes between 2022 and 2027, which is equivalent to the “entire installed power capacity today” of CHina.
According to the IEA, the electricity generated by wind and solar photovoltaic, which converts sunlight directly into electricity, will account for nearly 20% of global power generation in 2027.
“These variable technologies account for 80% of global renewable generation increase over the forecast period, which will require additional sources of power system flexibility,” it added.
The IEA, on the other hand, predicts that growth in geothermal, bioenergy, hydropower, and concentrated solar power will be “limited, despite their critical role in integrating wind and solar PV into global electricity systems.”
The global energy crisis, according to the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol, has pushed renewables “into an extraordinary new phase of even faster growth as countries seek to capitalize on their energy security benefits.”
“The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the previous 20 years,” Birol said.
The IEA chief added that sustained renewable power generation acceleration was “critical” to keeping “the door open to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
The 1.5 degree target refers to the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015, which aims to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.”
The goal of reducing human-made carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2050 is seen as critical to meeting the 1.5 degree Celsius target.
According to a report released earlier this year by the International Energy Agency, clean energy investment could exceed $2 trillion per year by 2030, representing a more than 50% increase over today.
(Adapted from DW.com)