Global electricity demand is growing faster than renewables

Renewables are expanding quickly but not enough to satisfy a strong rebound in global electricity demand this year. This is resulting in a sharp rise in the use of coal power that risks pushing carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector to record levels next year, says a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
After falling by about one percent in 2020 due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, global electricity demand is set to grow by close to five percent in 2021 and four percent in 2022 – driven by the global economic recovery. The majority of the increase in electricity demand is expected to come from the Asia Pacific region, primarily China and India, according to the latest edition of the IEA’s semi-annual »Electricity Market Report«.
Based on current policy settings and economic trends, electricity generation from renewables – including hydropower, wind and solar PV – is on track to grow strongly around the world over the next two years – by eight percent in 2021 and by more than six percent in 2022. »But even with this strong growth, renewables will only be able to meet around half the projected increase in global electricity demand over those two years,« expects the organization. Renewable growth has exceeded demand growth only in 2019 and 2020.
»Renewable power is growing impressively in many parts of the world, but it still isn’t where it needs to be to put us on a path to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century,« said Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA Director of Energy Markets and Security. »As economies rebound, we have seen a surge in electricity generation from fossil fuels. To shift to a sustainable trajectory, we need to massively step up investment in clean energy technologies – especially renewables and energy efficiency.«
© PHOTON

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