The electricity demand is rising faster than the supply from renewable sources such as wind turbines or solar parks, forcing coal-fired power stations and other polluting power stations to run faster. As a result, CO2 emissions from the electricity sector threaten to rise to record highs, warns the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Companies and households need more energy due to the economic recovery after the blow of the corona crisis. In 2020, electricity consumption fell by 1 percent. For this year, IEA expects the world to need 5 percent more power than last year. In 2022, demand is expected to increase by another 4 percent.
Although the amount of electricity from solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric plants will increase sharply this year and next, this will not be enough to meet the increased demand fully. As a result, energy generated by fossil fuels such as coal and gas will have to meet 45 percent of the extra demand this year. Next year it will be 40 percent.
As a result, the electricity sector is expected to emit 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent more CO2 in 2021 and 2022, respectively. As a result, the greenhouse gas emissions from power plants will reach a new peak in 2022, the agency writes in its semi-annual report on the electricity market.
“The growth of renewable energy is impressive, but it is still not enough to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of this century,” said Keisuke Sadamori, head of energy markets and security at the IEA. “To steer a sustainable course, we need to increase investment in clean energy technology massively.”
The IEA points out that renewable electricity supply has grown faster than the demand for energy in just two years. This happened in 2019 and 2020. However, this was mainly due to the decline in demand or only minimal growth in those years.