Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The International Energy Agency, in a new report that is just out, estimates that 90% of new global electricity demand through 2025 will be met by low-carbon sources — renewables and nuclear. It is mostly renewables, but the report mentions the French bringing their reactors back on line and the building of a few new nuclear plants in China, Japan, India and South Korea.
Since global electricity demand is growing as much as 3% a year, the world faces not only the problem of replacing fossil fuels, which are wrecking the planet, with renewables but also the task of filling new and growing energy needs that way. The good news is, it can and likely will be done.
In the United States, boosted by the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, renewables will jump. The reports says that between now and 2025, wind power will grow by 19% and solar photovoltaic power will soar by 56%.
In Europe, the report found, there has been a rush toward renewables to avoid dependence on Russian fossil gas and its higher prices.
Asia is the most worrisome region, since many of those countries are willing to use coal, which is high carbon. But even they will see a reduction in carbon intensity after 2025.
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World-wide, the IEA expects electricity-generation by fossil gas and coal to be flat for the next two years. In Europe, both sorts of hydrocarbon will rapidly decline, but that reduction will be offset by expanded fossil gas use in the Middle East and by continued use of coal in China, India, Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia.
By 2025, global carbon emissions will “plateau.” After that, less and less carbon dioxide will be pumped into the atmosphere.
In accordance with that statistic, renewables grew last year by 5.7% and will generate a third of global electricity by 2025. This statistic is remarkable, since just ten years ago renewables were a very small percentage of the electricity generated.
In 2022, renewable sources of power increased at a fast clip of 11%, up from the 9% common in the teens of the twenty-first century. In fact, wind and solar increased 18%.