As per the IEA’s recently issued “World Energy Outlook 2023,” clean energy has the potential to revolutionize the global energy system by 2030. Solar and electric vehicles (EVs) in particular are offering “hope for the way forward.”
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global energy grid in 2030 will have nearly ten times as many EVs on the road as there were in 2023. The authors observe that in 2020, 1 in 25 automobiles sold were electric; by 2023, that number has dropped to 1 in 5. Given this, it is easy to see how the momentum for EV adoption will continue to grow significantly over the next ten years.
According to IEA projections, solar energy will surpass the existing electricity generation capacity of the US power system by 2030. It projects that the proportion of renewable energy in the world’s electrical mix will increase from about 30% to over 50%. According to this analysis, new offshore wind projects will receive three times as much funding as new coal and gas-fired power facilities. Heat pumps and other electric heating technologies are predicted to outsell fossil fuel boilers worldwide.
“The global shift to clean energy is occurring and will not be stopped. “The sooner the better for all of us; it’s not a question of ‘if,’ but rather ‘how soon.'” IEA executive director Fatih Birol stated as much.
The revolution in renewable energy is being spearheaded by solar. According to current national policy, renewables will account for 80% of new power generation capacity by 2030, with solar alone contributing more than half of this development. By 2030, the globe is expected to have installed 500 GW of solar power, but it will also be able to produce more than 1,200 GW of solar panels annually. In comparison to a scenario based on current policy settings, China’s coal-fired power generation would be further reduced by 20% in 2030 if the globe were to deploy 800 GW of additional solar capacity by the end of the decade.
The IEA World Energy Outlook scenario also predicts, in a significant first, that global energy-related CO2 emissions will peak by 2025 and that the share of fossil fuels—that is, natural gas, coal, and oil—in the world’s energy supply, which has been stuck at roughly 80% for decades, will decline to 73% by 2030.
The IEA increased the projected growth of renewables by a significant 62% over last year’s prediction in its 2023 report, according to calculations made by the international energy research tank Ember. “This report indicates a significant improvement to the renewable energy outlook,” stated Dave Jones, the global insights lead at Ember. “Renewable electricity will soon be developed at a scale that can finally stop the rise of fossil fuels, not just in the power sector but throughout the entire economy. It’s been a long time coming.”
If countries deliver on their current energy policies and climate pledges on time and in full, clean energy progress will move even faster. But stronger measures are still needed to “keep alive the goal of limiting” global warming to 1.5C, asserts the IEA, and it states that to do so is “possible but very difficult.”
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