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IEA recognises renewable technology as the way forward

SAIREC, which is being hosted in South Africa from 4 - 8 October 2015, highlights the opportunities renewable energy can bring to the continent.
Renewable tech could become the primary source of new energy supply by 2040

In a recently released publication, the World Energy Outlook (WEO-2015), produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable technology contributed almost 50% of the world’s new power generation capacity in 2014 and has positioned itself as the second-largest source of electricity, after coal.

Transitioning towards renewable energy technology

The findings of the report highlight that renewable technology could become a primary source of new energy supply between 2015 and 2040.

This is supported by the climate pledges submitted in advance of the climate conference,COP21, which will take place this December in Paris.

With over 196 participating countries and the European Union (EU) representing 28 member states, the pledges commit to increasing renewables and energy efficiency.

The report identified that with the vast global deployment of renewable technologies, it could overtake coal as the largest source of electricity generation by the early-2030s. Generated clean power will top 50% in the EU by 2040, an estimated 30% in China and Japan, and above 25% in the US and India.

Achieving global climate goal

According to the IEA, a major course correction is still required to achieve the world’s agreed climate goal.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said: “As the largest source of global greenhouse-gas emissions, the energy sector must be at the heart of global action to tackle climate change.

“World leaders meeting in Paris must set a clear direction for the accelerated transformation of the global energy sector.

He added: “The IEA stands ready to support the implementation of an agreement reached in Paris with all of the instruments at our disposal, to track progress, promote better policies and support the technology innovation that can fulfil the world’s hopes for a safe and sustainable energy future.”

Energy security

The WEO 2015 indicates that the rapid development of the Asia, which could take over from China as the biggest region of consumption growth, “is the leading demand centre for every major element of the world’s energy mix in 2040 – oil, gas, coal, renewables and nuclear. By 2040, China’s net oil imports are nearly five times those of the United States, while India’s easily exceed those of the European Union.”

Birol said: “It would be a grave mistake to index our attention to energy security to changes in the oil price.

“Now is not the time to relax. Quite the opposite: a period of low oil prices is the moment to reinforce our capacity to deal with future energy security threats.”

Growing demand shifts focus

The report puts a large focus on India as it shifts to the forefront in global energy. The report has attributed this to the regions “high levels of economic growth, a large (and growing) population and low (but increasing) levels of energy use per capita all pushing energy demand to two-and-a-half-times current levels.”

In conclusion, global energy demand grows by an estimated one-third between 2013 and 2040 in the central scenario of WEO‑2015, with the majority steered by developing countries.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.