World Energy Outlook examines global energy market
Every fall, the IEA publishes its Energy Outlook, in which it takes a close look at the global energy world. Due to the Corona crisis, the document was awaited with particular excitement this year. That’s because the pandemic turned the energy world upside down. On the one hand, demand for fossil raw materials collapsed, and on the other, greenhouse gas emissions fell significantly.
For the IEA, this is a clear indication of an imminent turnaround. While fossil fuels and nuclear power are losing importance, the agency expects higher growth in renewable energies.
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For example, the International Energy Agency forecasts 9,000 terawatt hours of electricity from coal in 2040, up from 10,300 terawatt hours two years ago. Conversely, the IEA expects renewable energies to increase by 12 percent in 2040. Instead of 16,700 terawatt hours of electricity, that would be a good 18,800.
Photovoltaics lead the way
A closer look at the details brings solar energy into focus. Here, the IEA estimates that global electricity supply will be an incredible 43 percent higher than two years ago. “The forecast proves that solar energy will play a leading role in the energy transition,” says Joachim Goldbeck. In contrast to other forms of renewable energy, this is where the greatest growth is to be seen. This is because the IEA has often neglected the rapid technical development in photovoltaics in particular in its reports.
“Technological advances are continuously moving photovoltaics forward and making energy production even more efficient,” begins Joachim Goldbeck. “This certainly explains the IEA’s current assessment, but it also underscores the importance of solar energy for global power generation. Already in the past years, the IEA regularly suspected a growth plateau. In reality, however, this has not been the case. Instead, a steady upward trend has been evident.”
Solar is becoming increasingly affordable
The IEA’s designation of solar energy as the new king of the global energy markets is largely due to the lower costs associated with photovoltaics, which the energy agency assumes. “Solar systems are becoming cheaper and cheaper,” says Joachim Goldbeck. “That makes them more attractive to a broader mass.”
And, of course, climate policy goals also play a role. After all, meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement can only be achieved if fossil fuels disappear or are reduced. And this can only be achieved with renewable forms of energy such as photovoltaics.