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Energy in the Next 10 Years

By Kelsey Tamborrino
The pandemic’s dampening effect on the global energy consumption will linger for more than two more years, and possibly even longer, the International Energy Agency says in its flagship publication this morning, the World Energy Outlook 2020. The latest IEA analysis finds that overall energy demand is set to drop by 5 percent in 2020, with energy-related CO2 emissions down 7 percent and energy investment off by 18 percent.
The outlook looks at the industry over the next 10 years, and breaks them out into four potential pathways. Under the scenario that reflects current announced policy and targets, global energy demand would rebound to its pre-crisis level in early 2023, though a prolonged pandemic could push that out to 2025. Under that same scenario, coal demand will not return to pre-crisis levels — instead its share of the 2040 global energy mix falls below 20 percent for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. Natural gas demand however would grow significantly, mainly in Asia, while oil demand flattens out in the 2030s.
“The era of global oil demand growth will come to an end in the next decade,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. “But without a large shift in government policies, there is no sign of a rapid decline. Based on today’s policy settings, a global economic rebound would soon push oil demand back to pre-crisis levels.”
Under all four scenarios in the report , renewable energy continues to gain market share. In the announced policy intentions scenario, renewables meet 80 percent of global electricity demand growth over the next decade, overtaking coal by 2025 as the primary means of producing electricity. Hydropower will remain the largest renewable source over that period, but solar is the main source of growth. “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets,” Birol added. Solar is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022 under current policy.
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