Demand for electricity exceeds supply of renewable energy as fossil fuels close the gap

The growing demand is met by fossil fuels and threatens to push CO2 emissions to record levels.

Global demand for electricity is growing faster than the supply of renewable energy and is leading to an increase in the production of electricity from fossil fuels.

This is the conclusion of a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which showed a 5% increase in electricity demand in 2021, nearly half of which is satisfied by production of fossil fuels, mainly from coal.

Similarly, over the next two years, renewable energy production is only expected to meet half of new electricity demand, according to the report, despite growing 8% in 2021 and 6% in 2022. .

The process threatens to push CO2 emissions from the electricity sector to record levels in 2022 unless action is taken, according to the report. CO2 emissions from the electricity sector are expected to increase by 3.5% in 2021 and 2.5% in 2022, bringing them to a record level.

At the same time, global electricity demand is expected to grow by almost 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022, according to the latest edition of the IEA’s electricity market report released today. This is largely due to the resumption of COVID-19, which saw demand drop 1% in 2020.

Global evolution of electricity demand in TWh from 2015 to 2022. Light blue: China, dark blue: United States, light green: India, dark green: Europe, yellow: other and the black dot represents the sharp change. Picture: AIE.

Most of the increase in demand comes from the Asia-Pacific region, mainly China and India, according to the IEA report. More than half of the growth in 2022 will occur in China, with India accounting for 9%.

Renewable energy growth only outpaced demand growth in 2019 and 2020, but during those years this was largely due to slow or falling demand, suggesting that renewable capacity additions exceeding the rest of the electricity sector is still a long way off.

“To move to a sustainable trajectory, we need to massively increase investments in clean energy technologies – especially renewables and energy efficiency,” said Keisuke Sadamori, director of energy and security markets. of the IEA.

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