Global demand for electricity is growing faster than renewables and leading to a rise in fossil fuel generation, according to a new report.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts global electricity demand is set to grow by close to 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022 as economies recover from the impact of the pandemic.
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 8% in 2021 and by more than 6% in 2022.
But even with this strong growth, the IEA said renewables will only be able to meet around half the projected increase in global electricity demand over those two years.
Fossil fuel-based electricity generation is set to cover 45% of additional demand in 2021 and 40% in 2022, with nuclear power accounting for the rest. As a result, carbon emissions from the electricity sector – which fell in both 2019 and 2020 – are forecast to increase by 3.5% in 2021 and by 2.5% in 2022, which would take them to an all-time high.
Keisuke Sadamori, IEA’s Director of Energy Markets and Security, said: “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.
“As economies rebound, we’ve 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.”