The publication of the IEA (International Energy Agency) gives us an overview of how the global energy system could develop in the decades to come. And warns: renewable energies will play a major role.

Photovoltaic becomes the new king of the electricity markets in the world. Based on current policy approaches, you are on track to establish future annual distribution records after 2022.″. With these words, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), presented the much anticipated World Energy Outlook 2020.

The document – the Agency’s most important publication – gives as always a vision of the present and the next 10 years in the world of energy. Try to understand how the health crisis that has affected the planet today and will affect in the near future.

The IEA faces a possible protracted pandemic and deeper recession. To complete the picture, the likely tomorrows are: the declared political scenario (STEPS), the sustainable development scenario (SDS) and the net zero emissions scenario for 2050 (NZE2050).

The STEPS scenario predicts that Covid-19 will be gradually brought under control in 2021 and that the global economy will return to pre-crisis levels in 2021. This scenario reflects all of the policy goals announced today, as they are supported by detailed steps to achieve them.

The recovery scenario is designed with the same political assumptions as STEPS, but taking into account a protracted pandemic and lasting damage to the economic outlook. The global economy will not regain its pre-crisis dimensions until 2023.

In the sustainable development scenario, there is an increase in policies and investments in clean energy, putting the energy system on the path to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and sustainable development. The assumptions on public health and the economy are the same as in STEPS.

A growing number of countries and companies aim to achieve a level of net zero emissions, usually by the middle of the century.

The development of renewable energies at WEO 2020

One of the main data from the World Energy Outlook 2020 is that renewable energies are called upon to play a leading role in the four scenarios analyzed.

An unstoppable sprint which will have photovoltaics as the main player.

Obviously, the level of penetration and development will depend on the ability to solve and, in many cases, anticipate the main challenges of the sector.

Starting with investments in electricity networks, one of the Achilles heels of the energy transition. However, overall there is optimism.

Renewed support policies and technological advances allow very cheap access to capital in major markets. It’s no mystery that PV is now cheaper than new coal and gas power plants in most countries; And every year, solar auctions hit new price records.

In the established political scenario, renewables meet 80% of the growth in global electricity demand over the next decade. Hydropower remains the main green source, but photovoltaics is the first technology for new installed capacity.

In the most ambitious scenario – NZE2050 – growth would be even higher. Photovoltaic power in the world would increase from 110 GW in 2019 to nearly 500 GW in 2030.

The share of renewables in the global electricity supply would increase from 27% in 2019 to 60% in 2030, while nuclear power would produce just over 10% and coal-fired plants without CCUS only 6%.

But to reach that data, investment would need to triple to $ 2 trillion by the end of the decade, with more than a third of spending going to electrical infrastructure alone.

What seems certain is that the challenges for fossil fuels will multiply. Even in the STEPS scenario, demand for coal will not return to pre-crisis levels, but it is doomed to fall below 20% over the next few years.

On the contrary, demand for natural gas is increasing, especially in Asia, while oil will remain vulnerable.

The era of oil growth […] will end in the next decadeBirol added. “But without major changes in government policies, there is no sign of a rapid decline. Based on current policy approaches, a global economic rebound would soon push oil demand to pre-crisis levels. “

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More information: www.iea.org