‘Now Is the Time’ to Curb Energy Emissions as Demand Rebounds, IEA Expert Says
Global energy demand will increase next year, and we will need more renewables capacity as fossil fuel-generated power slows — that’s the message from a new International Energy Agency (IEA) Electricity Market Report.
Slower economic growth and the global energy crisis are predicted to ease the demand for global electricity this year, but next year it will again pick up pace as the economic outlook improves, rebounding to 3.3 percent, according to the report.
This year’s demand is expected to increase by less than two percent, down from 2.3 percent in 2022. The average yearly growth rate from 2015 to 2019 was 2.4 percent.
“The world’s need for electricity is set to grow strongly in the years to come. The global increase in demand through 2024 is expected to amount to about three times the current electricity consumption of Germany,” said Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA’s director for Energy Markets and Security, in a press release from the IEA.
The IEA said renewable energy will be able to cover predicted growth through next year, as renewable sources will make up more than one third of the world’s supply of power for the first time in 2024, reported Reuters.
Electricity demand in the European Union (EU) is expected to fall to its lowest level in two decades this year, but renewables growth will be important as the economy and energy needs ramp up again, the press release said.
In the United States, it is predicted that demand for electricity will decrease by nearly two percent in 2023. In Japan and the EU, demand is set to fall by three percent. The drop in EU demand this year, along with a similar decrease in 2022, add up to the largest slide ever recorded, with consumption in the EU set to fall to 2002 levels.
Over the next two years, energy demand in China is predicted to go up at an average yearly rate of 5.2 percent, which is just below the average for 2015 to 2019. In India, average yearly demand is expected to grow an estimated 6.5 percent through next year, which is far higher than the country’s average for 2015 to 2019.
There is enough renewable energy supply to meet additional demand for electricity worldwide through 2024.
While renewables are making up more of global energy capacity, over the next two years, fossil fuel-based electricity is predicted to fall. Power from oil is expected to decrease markedly, and coal-fired power is projected to decrease slightly this year and next.
The IEA also shows fossil fuel-generated electricity decreasing in four of the years from 2019 to 2024.
Until recently, yearly declines in fossil-fuel powered energy usually only happened following global financial and energy shocks that led to a fall in worldwide demand. Now fossil-fuel generated electricity slows or decreases as power needs grow.
According to the IEA, this shows that the planet is quickly approaching a “tipping point” when clean energy will take the place of fossil fuels more and more.
“[W]e’re encouraged to see renewables accounting for a rising share of electricity generation, resulting in declines in the use of fossil fuels for power generation. Now is the time for policy makers and the private sector to build on this momentum to ensure emissions from the power sector go into sustained decline,” Sadamori said in the press release.
The report found that energy-intensive industries in the EU have yet to rebound from the production slump of 2022, and that heightened energy costs that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to nearly two-thirds of EU electricity demand reduction last year. This has continued this year, even though electricity and energy commodity prices have gone down.