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New report: Clean energy will cover for increased electricity demand

First, some bad news: The power sector is currently producing more carbon emissions than any other in the global economy – and the increasing electricity demand is expected to speed up over the next few years.
Now the good news: The whole increase in electricity demand will be covered by clean energy sources – and emissions are going down.
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After a brief period of slower increase, global electricity demand is expected to grow faster over the next three years. The fossil fuel lobby is eager to use this as an argument to expand fossil fuels. In its new Lights on Energy campaign, the American Petroleum Institute argues that as demand for energy is growing, ”so is demand for American gas and oil.”

But that’s not true. According to the new ”Electricity 2024” report by the IEA, record-breaking electricity generation from renewables and nuclear power is set to cover all of the world’s electricity demand over the next three years.

Already next year, in 2025, renewables are expected to make up more than one-third of total electricity generation, thereby overtaking coal. In the same year, fossil fuels are expected to reach an all-time low, accounting for less than 60% of the global electricity generation. “The power sector currently produces more CO2 emissions than any other in the world economy, so it’s encouraging that the rapid growth of renewables and a steady expansion of nuclear power are together on course to match all the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years. This is largely thanks to the huge momentum behind renewables, with ever cheaper solar leading the way,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in a statement at the release of the report. This shift is also creating loads of new jobs. Clean-energy sectors – such as low-carbon power, grids, energy storage, electric vehicles (EVs), and railways – contributed 11.4tn yuan ($1.6tn) to China’s economy in 2023, according to a new analysis for Carbon Brief. This accounted for “all of the growth in Chinese investment and a larger share of economic growth than any other part of the economy”. This was driven, in particular, by the “new three” industries of solar power, EVs and batteries.

The rapid expansion of renewable energy sources is expected to meet all additional electricity demand in China. Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
The rapid expansion of renewable energy sources is expected to meet all additional electricity demand in China. Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash


Here are some of the most interesting findings in the IEA report ”Electricity 2024”: • The global growth in electricity demand is projected to accelerate to an average of 3.4% from 2024 through 2026.  • About 85% of this increase is expected to come from outside advanced economies – most notably China, India and Southeast Asian countries. • Electricity consumption from data centres, artificial intelligence (AI) and the cryptocurrency sector could double by 2026.  If it happens, the electricity consumption of data centers alone will be roughly equivalent to the electricity consumption of Japan. • Despite this increase, the dependence on fossil fuel is expected to be reduced. As clean electricity supply continues to expand rapidly, the share of fossil fuels in global generation is forecast to decline from 61% in 2023 to 54% in 2026, falling below 60% for the first time in IEA records dating back to 1971.  • Low-emissions sources are expected to account for almost half of the world’s electricity generation by 2026, up from a share of just under 40% in 2023. • Renewables are set to make up more than one-third of total electricity generation by early 2025, overtaking coal.  • Renewables are set to more than offset demand growth in advanced economies such as the United States and the European Union, displacing fossil-fired supply. In China, the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources is expected to meet all additional electricity demand. However, the weather and the extent to which the country’s demand growth eases remain key sources of uncertainty for the outlook. • The strong expansion in renewable power capacity must also be accompanied by accelerated investment in grids and system flexibility to ensure its smooth integration. • By 2025, nuclear power generation is forecast to reach an all-time high globally as output from France climbs, several plants in Japan come back online, and new reactors begin commercial operations in many markets, including in China, India, Korea and Europe. • Global emissions from electricity generation are expected to decrease by 2.4% in 2024, followed by smaller declines in 2025 and 2026. • Africa remains an outlier in electricity demand trends. While electricity use per capita in India and Southeast Asia has risen rapidly, it has been effectively stagnant in Africa for over three decades.

What is your view on these findings and predictions? Voice your opinion in the comments section below. Read the full report:


  • Chris Ndungu

    9 w

    Information is power!

    1
    • Dietrich Bartelt

      11 w

      We have come a long way already, but need to speed up to reach our new targets!!! The past years have shown an enormous growth in renewable energy production in Germany!!! You know, when we did start activities more than 30 years ago, nobody in our own utility companies took us seriously!!!! Now for a growing number of hours during the past year the renewable power generation has become the leading source of electricity production in Germany!!!

      6
      • Munene Mugambi

        11 w

        @dr_dietrich_bartelt certainly. We need to accelerate green energy growth

        1
        • Juan Pablo Landoni

          11 w

          @dr_dietrich_bartelt I still think Germany should have waited some years to shut down the nuclear plants and not turn on the old coal power plants. If GHG reduction was in the core mission, that shouldn't have happened.

        • Ingmar Rentzhog

          11 w

          This is exactly what I talked about in my #PopTheCork video last year. We are making much more progress than most people know about. See my 10 min video that will give you hope here: https://app.wedonthavetime.org/posts/407ecd3c-a522-4d47-a3b7-b0032d3ed409?utm_source=url-copy&utm_medium=wdht-web-app-share&utm_campaign=Rentzhog

          10
          • Munene Mugambi

            11 w

            @Rentzhog as true as this is, fact remains we can do more and should definitely do more

            2
          • George Kariuki

            11 w

            This shift away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner sources promises significant environmental benefits in terms of reduced CO2 emissions and air pollution.

            5
            • Jane Wangui

              11 w

              @george_kariuki hope is all we need to live and fight another day.

              2
              • Munene Mugambi

                11 w

                @george_kariuki it reduces our carbon emissions greatly and this gradual change in energy sources hugely improved our climate

                1
              • Gorffly mokua

                11 w

                This is a positive step towards reducing the significant carbon footprint of the global economy and addressing the impacts of climate change.

                7
                • Munene Mugambi

                  11 w

                  @gorffly_mokua it is true that we can only reduce our carbon numbers by ensuring the most polluting sectors adopt green energy

                  1
                • johnte ndeto

                  11 w

                  Clean energy is the major focus to save our planet.Nice piece

                  7
                  • Gorffly mokua

                    11 w

                    @johnte_ndeto Agree! And we should direct our energy and resources towards it!

                    3
                    • Munene Mugambi

                      11 w

                      @johnte_ndeto clean energy is the start pin our journey towards liberation of the planet. From fossil fuels to renewable energy

                    • Simon Bergbom

                      11 w

                      Wow! Talk about exponential change. It’s just becoming more and more obvious that we have the solutions we need. We’re just lacking the political will. Hoping that will change in 2024.

                      13
                      • Gorffly mokua

                        11 w

                        @simon_bergbom I completely agree that it's becoming more obvious that we have the solutions we need to address climate change.

                        3
                        • Munene Mugambi

                          11 w

                          @simon_bergbom we have the resources and ability. What we lack is the right direction and willingness to make a change in our world

                          1
                        • Johannes Luiga

                          11 w

                          Thank you very much Markus for this lengthy and informative article showing that the transition into renewable energy is going faster than the public awareness

                          6
                          • Jane Wangui

                            11 w

                            @Johannes_Luiga I agree.The public ( my self included) sometimes think that most of the time we take more steps backwards than foward.

                            2
                          • Marine Stephan

                            11 w

                            This is such an important report. My biggest fear though is that (as we've seen before), the fossil fuel industry have way more marketing and communication budgets than the IEA, which will likely mean that they will be able to continue with their narrative of "we need to increase fossil fuel production to match the energy demand". And this narrative will likely be the one that reaches the public opinion and the governments. Also, I'm wondering if the IEA in this report takes into account the distribution of this energy. Will it not be likely that the poorest countries and people will face a shortage of clean energy, as the richest ones will "keep it for themselves"?

                            8
                            • Victor Erik Ramos

                              11 w

                              @marine_stephan Lets hope that the falling costs of clean electricity will make oil and coal fired power plants obsolete. I think thats the consensus, but of course fossil subsidies will keep dirty power in the grids for longer than we really afford.

                              4
                              • Munene Mugambi

                                11 w

                                @marine_stephan the way to go around this hurdle is by diversification of funds and by ensuring all countries have the means of production to support production of renewable energy

                                1
                              • Munene Mugambi

                                11 w

                                This is if and when we make the right moves in funding clean energy

                                12
                                • Adam Wallin

                                  11 w

                                  The claim that fossil fuels are necessary for prosperity is becoming more and more ridiculous.

                                  7
                                  • Munene Mugambi

                                    11 w

                                    @Adam_Wallin these claims are only backed and come from fossil fuel financiers and people who benefit from such fuels

                                    2
                                    • Sarah Burton

                                      11 w

                                      @Adam_Wallin I'll be back https://run-3.pro

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