Low-emitting sources are expected to cover almost all of the growth in global electricity demand over the next three years
Renewables are expected to dominate the growth of global electricity supply over the next three years because, together with nuclear energy, they meet the vast majority of the increase in global demand until 2025, making a significant increase in carbon emissions from the electricity sector is unlikely, according to a new IEA report.
After slowing slightly last year to 2% due to the turmoil of the global energy crisis and extreme weather conditions in some regions, growth in global electricity demand is expected to accelerate to an average of 3%. over the next three years, according to the IEA's 2023 Electricity Market Report . Emerging and developing economies in Asia are driving the faster pace, which is up from the 2.4% average growth recorded in the years before the pandemic.
More than 70% of the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years is expected to come from China, India and Southeast Asia, although considerable uncertainty remains over trends. in China as its economy emerges from strict Covid restrictions. China's share of global electricity consumption is expected to reach a new high of one-third by 2025, up from a quarter in 2015. At the same time, advanced economies are looking to increase electricity use to replace fossil fuels in sectors such as transport, heating and industry.
"Growing global electricity demand is expected to accelerate, adding more than double Japan's current electricity consumption over the next three years," said Fatih Birol, IEA's executive director. “The good news is that renewables and nuclear power are growing fast enough to meet almost all of this additional appetite, suggesting that we are close to a tipping point for emissions from the energy sector. Governments must now enable low-emitting sources to grow even faster and reduce emissions so the world can ensure a secure supply of electricity while meeting climate goals.
While natural gas power generation in the European Union is expected to decline in the coming years, based on current trends, significant growth in the Middle East is expected to partially offset this decline. Sharp spikes in natural gas prices amid the energy crisis have in turn fueled soaring electricity prices in some markets, particularly in Europe, sparking debate in political circles over design reforms of the electricity market.
Meanwhile, expected declines in coal-fired power generation in Europe and the Americas are expected to be accompanied by an increase in the Asia-Pacific region, despite increased deployment of nuclear power and the restarting of power plants in certain countries such as Japan. This means that after hitting a record high in 2022, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from global electricity generation are expected to remain at roughly the same level until 2025.
The strong growth of renewables means that their share in the global electricity generation mix is expected to increase from 29% in 2022 to 35% in 2025, with the shares of coal and gas generation declining. As a result, the CO2 intensity of global electricity production will continue to decrease in the years to come. Europe, however, bucked this global trend last year. The CO2 intensity of electricity production in Europe has increased due to the increased use of coal and gas in the context of sharp declines in hydroelectricity production, due to drought, and the nuclear energy, due to plant shutdowns and maintenance. This setback will be temporary, however, as emissions from power generation in Europe are expected to decline by an average of around 10% per year until 2025.
Electricity demand trends varied significantly across regions in 2022. India's electricity consumption grew sharply, while China's growth was more subdued due to its policy zero Covid weighing heavily on economic activity. The United States saw a surge in demand, driven by economic activity and increased residential use amid warmer summer weather and colder than normal winter weather.
Demand in the European Union contracted due to an exceptionally mild winter and a drop in electricity consumption in the industrial sector, which significantly reduced production due to high oil prices. energy and supply disruptions caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The 3.5% fall in demand from the EU was its second biggest percentage drop since the global financial crisis in 2009, the biggest being the exceptional contraction due to the Covid shock in 2020.
The new IEA report notes that global electricity demand and supply are increasingly dependent on weather conditions, with extreme conditions a recurring theme in 2022. In addition to drought in Europe, there are had heat waves in India, resulting in the highest electricity demand peak ever recorded in the country. Similarly, central and eastern regions of China have been hit by heat waves and drought, leading to increased demand for air conditioning amid reduced hydropower generation in the province. from Sichuan. The United States also experienced severe winter storms in December, triggering massive power outages.
These underscore the need for faster decarbonization and accelerated deployment of clean energy technologies, the report says. At the same time, as the transition to clean energy accelerates, the impact of weather events on electricity demand will intensify due to increased electrification of heating, while the share of renewables dependent on weather conditions will continue to grow in the production mix. In such a world, it will be crucial to increase the flexibility of electricity systems while ensuring the security of supply and the resilience of networks.
Growth in global electricity demand has slowed only slightly in 2022, despite the headwinds of the energy crisis, and is expected to accelerate in the coming years.
This year's report offers an in-depth analysis of recent policies, trends and market developments, including forecasts to 2025 for electricity demand, supply and CO2 emissions – with a detailed study of the evolution of the production mix. It contains a comprehensive analysis of developments in Europe, which faced various energy crises in 2022. The Asia-Pacific region is also the subject of particular attention, with its rapidly growing demand for electricity and the acceleration deployment of clean energy.
Source : IEA