Clean energy will transform the global energy system by 2030, and solar and EVs offer “hope for a way forward,” according to the IEA’s new “World Energy Outlook 2023.” Released today.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) describes a global energy system in 2030 that includes nearly 10 times more EVs on the road globally compared to 2023. By 2020, the authors note, 1 in 25 cars will be sold — and by 2023, it will now be 1 in 5. So in light of that, it’s not hard to imagine how the pace of EV adoption will dramatically accelerate over the rest of the decade.
The IEA now predicts that by 2030, the entire U.S. power system will be generating more electricity from solar than it currently does. The share of renewables in the global electricity mix is expected to reach nearly 50% from 30% today. Three times more investment goes into new offshore wind projects than new coal and gas-fired power plants. And heat pumps and other electric heating systems are expected to outpace fossil fuel boilers worldwide.
“The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide and is unstoppable. It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘how soon’ – the sooner the better for all of us,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
Solar power is leading the renewable revolution. Under current national policies, renewables are set to contribute 80% of electricity generation capacity by 2030, with solar alone accounting for more than half of this expansion. The world is expected to deploy 500 gigawatts of solar power by 2030, but even that is set Production Capacity for more than 1,200 GW of solar panels per year. If the world deploys 800 GW of new solar power by the end of the decade, that would lead to a further 20% reduction in coal-fired power generation in China by 2030 compared to a scenario based on today’s policy settings.
The IEA World Energy Outlook predicts that the share of fossil fuels – to be clear, natural gas, coal and oil – in global energy supply will remain at around 80% for decades to come. , declining to 73% in 2030, with global energy-related CO2 emissions peaking in 2025.
Ember, a global energy think tank, calculated that the IEA in its 2023 report raised estimated renewable growth to 62% over last year’s outlook. “This report marks a major upgrade to the outlook for renewables,” said Dave Jones, Ember’s Global Intelligence Lead. “It’s been a long time coming, but renewable electricity will soon be built at a scale that can halt the rise of fossil fuels, not just within the power sector, but across the entire economy.”
If countries deliver on their current energy policies and climate commitments in a timely and complete manner, clean energy progress will move even faster. But more robust measures are needed to “keep alive the goal of limiting global warming” to 1.5C, the IEA insists, adding that doing so is “possible but very difficult”.
read more: This is what power grids need now to support clean energy
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