The world may be shifting towards renewable energy, but the pace is not fast enough to offset the effects of world economic expansion and a growing population, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned.
In its World Energy Outlook Report of 2019, released on Tuesday, the Paris-based policy adviser said that while recognizing the importance of moving to a carbon neutral world, society is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and it will remain on the way less major political changes are made.
Despite growth in alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power, carbon emissions are still a highlight in 201[ads1]8.
If drastic changes are to be made, governments must take a "hard, evidence-based view of where they stand and the implications of the choices they make, "the report states.
Instead of predicting energy consumption over the next decade, the IEA looked at three possible scenarios ios that would lead to different outcomes:
- Current Policy Scenario : What if the world's energy consumption continues as it is .
- Stated policy scenario : Factors in energy related policy decisions that have been announced.
- Sustainable Development Scenario : A framework for how to fully achieve sustainable energy goals.
Although the outlook may seem severe, the IEA said that tectonic changes in energy needs and consumption are possible. The agency pointed to the United States' path to becoming a net oil and gas exporter – once thought impossible – as proof that a major change is possible.
"The slate revolution emphasizes that rapid change in the energy system is possible When an initial pressure to develop new technologies is complemented by strong market incentives and large-scale investments," said IEA CEO Fatih Birol.
For a similar scenario to be played out in terms of carbon emissions, significant changes must be made quickly and "governments must take the lead," the report concluded.
Renewable energy grows, but not fast enough
According to the stated political scenario, the IEA predicts that renewable energy growth will continue – led by water, wind and solar power – but the pace will not be fast enough to offset the impact of expanding global economies and a growing global population. Energy demand will increase by 1% annually through 2040, and while emission levels will decrease, they will not peak until after 2040.
The IEA said that 50% of the extra energy demand will be supplied by renewable energy, with 35% being met with gasoline. Under the current projections, the sun will become the largest power source by 2040, driven by falling costs. Wind will also be a key player, with power from offshore turbines expected to grow fifteen times by 2040.
This transition to renewable focused energy will require supportive government policy. The report will have to go fast to keep pace with technological change and the growing need for flexible operation of power systems. "
The solar power will come at the expense of coal, which is today the largest power-related source of carbon emissions. The IEA said that the market share for the commodity would fall from 38% today to 25% in 2040.
India will be the largest worldwide driver for energy demand growth, although China will be the largest overall consumer.These two economies may constitute the lion's share of production in Asia, but as other economies develop different potential power suppliers.
"A three-way cycle is ongoing among coal, natural gas and renewable energy to provide power and heat to Asia's fast-growing economies, "the report states.
Under the more stringent sustainable development scenario – which will require trillions of investment – energy demand would peak in 2040 thanks be a "relentless focus on efficiency. "
Oil demand in the flat
An increasing need for renewable energy sources, combined with increasing fuel efficiency and a transition to electric vehicles, will hit the oil sector. According to the stated political scenario, the IEA said that demand for oil would decline during that period. over the next decade, before it flattens out in the 2030s.
For the time being, however, production will continue to increase, and the United States will account for 85% of the increase in output over the next decade.
In this scenario, China will persuade the EU to become the largest net importer, and as India's economy expands, it will import about 90% of its oil, which will be an "important factor in global trade and energy security."
However, under the sustainable development scenario, oil demand is projected to peak over the next few years.
"Aggr egate production of fossil fuels falls abruptly by 2040 … Natural gas production rises by around 8% by 2030 before falling below current levels in 2040. Oil production will peak over the next few years, dropping to 65 million barrels per day (one level which has not been seen since 1990) as the transition to alternative modes in the transport sector removes its main demand base, "the report states.
Important investments will be an important contribution to developing things like battery storage and carbon capture systems, as well as improving overall energy efficiency to reduce global emission levels.
"A sharp collection of efficiency improvements is the most important element in bringing the world to the sustainable development scenario," the IEA said.
Under the sustainable development scenario, energy efficiency spending will reach $ 16.7 trillion by 2040, which is around $ 625 billion per year over the next ten years, and nearly $ 920. Billions per year from 2030 to 2040. Similarly, investments in renewable energy will need $ 650 billion per year for the next ten years to reach energy targets.
Such is the case right now, under the stated political scenario, energy efficiency spending is expected to amount to $ 11.7 trillion by 2040, with renewable spending estimated to reach $ 440 billion per year.
Given the dependence on coal in many new Asian economies, the report also discussed ways to reduce emissions from ongoing production, including retrofitting of carbon capture technology facilities.
There is a greater gap between what research says must be done to curb carbon e missions, and what is actually happening.
For example, the demand for electric vehicles is growing, but also the demand for much larger and much less energy-efficient SUVs. The number of SUVs on the road around the world increased from 35 million in 2010 to over 200 million last year, representing 60% of the increase in the global car fleet during the 8-year period, the IEA said.
As the world tries to cut down on carbon emissions, rising temperatures and erratic weather patterns have not made it easy. The IEA estimated that almost one fifth of the growth in energy demand in 2018 came from warmer summers and colder winters.
Finally, while immediate action is needed, the road ahead is far from easy.
"There is no simple or easy solution to reverse emissions. Several approaches and technologies – including much greater efficiency – are required in all parts of the energy system, along with a clear eye on where emissions occur and what the reduction options are in each area. . "