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IEA: Renewables can meet the growth of the world’s electricity supply over the next three years

The latest International Energy Agency Electricity Market report predicts that while the world’s electricity demand growth slowed only slightly in 2022, renewables, together with nuclear power will meet the vast majority of the increase in global demand through to 2025, making significant rises in the power sector’s carbon emissions unlikely.

After slowing to 2% during the global energy crisis, the growth in world electricity demand is expected to accelerate to an average of 3% over the next three years, with emerging economies in Asia being the driving force.

black transmission towers under green sky

More than 70% of the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years is expected to come from China, India and Southeast Asia, although the report observes that ‘advanced economies are seeking to expand electricity use to displace fossil fuels in sectors such as transport, heating and industry.’ By 2025 China is expected to be responsible for one third of the world’s electricity consumption.

However, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol adds: ‘The good news is that renewables and nuclear power are growing quickly enough to meet almost all this additional appetite, suggesting we are close to a tipping point for power sector emissions. Governments now need to enable low-emissions sources to grow even faster and drive down emissions so that the world can ensure secure electricity supplies while reaching climate goals.’

Perhaps the most significant part of the report lies here: ‘The strong growth of renewables means their share of the global power generation mix is forecast to rise from 29% in 2022 to 35% in 2025, with the shares of coal- and gas-fired generation falling. As a result, the CO2 intensity of global power generation will continue to decrease in the coming years’

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