Earlier this week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report showing that humanity has a little more than a decade left to significantly reduce its emissions. A key to that is transitioning to renewable energy and an International Energy Agency report out the same day as the IPCC report showed that the by 2023 about one third of the world’s electricity will come from renewable energy.
The assumptions in IEA’s Renewables 2018 market analysis are for the base case scenario, according to IEA. It also stressed that even though renewable energy technologies are becoming more competitive, the design of markets and appropriate policies are critical to realizing the expansion. With even greater support from governments renewables could grow as much as 25 percent higher than expected.
Over the period studied, the report anticipated that 1 terawatt of new renewable electric generation will be added. Under the high-end scenario 1.3 terawatts of new renewable electric generation.
Of that, solar photovoltaic (PV) power is expected to see the most growth across all other technologies, according to the report, expanding by almost 600 gigawatts over the next five years. By 2023, the report anticipates the world will have 1 terawatt of PV installed. The report anticipated that China will dominate new solar installation and the US will be the second largest market followed by India.
The report goes beyond energy use for producing electricity and also looks at energy use in transportation and heating across the globe. While wind and solar are leading growth in electric production, IEA pointed to modern bioenergy as the leader renewable energy growth across all energy use, since it’s used as a transportation and heating fuel.
“Modern bioenergy is the overlooked giant of the renewable energy field,” said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA executive director. “Its share in the world’s total renewables consumption is about 50 percent today, in other words as much as hydro, wind, solar and all other renewables combined. We expect modern bioenergy will continue to lead the field, and has huge prospects for further growth."
IEA called bioenergy, which includes biomass electric generation, biofuels and more, a blind spot of the international energy system—an issue critical to the energy sector but one that isn’t receiving enough attention. The report said that in addition to its potential growth in transportation electric generation, bioenergy has untapped potential in cement, sugar, and ethanol industries. But it will have to be used in a way that results in low emissions while reducing waste and improving air quality.
“The right policies and rigorous sustainability regulations will be essential to meet its full potential,” Birol said.
Overall renewables will continue their rapid expansion. Over the next five years, they’re expected to make up 40 percent of the global energy consumption growth and will grow most rapidly in electric generation.Tweet