Energy Efficiency

India to lead global energy demand over next decade: New report

Renewables will meet 80 per cent of global electricity demand growth over next decade with hydropower remaining largest renewable source and solar being main source of growth, followed by onshore and offshore wind

By Pratha Jhawar
Published: Tuesday 13 October 2020

India will lead the demand for energy globally over the next 10 years, the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2020, released October 13, has predicted.

Energy demand was projected to grow by 12 per cent between 2019 and 2030 before the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic struck, the WEO-2020, a flagship report of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said.

However, the growth over this period will now decline.

“Growth over this period is now nine per cent in the STEPS, and only four per cent in the DRS. With demand in advanced economies on a declining trend, all of the increase comes from emerging market and developing economies, led by India,” the WEO-2020 read.

STEPS stands for Stated Policies Scenario. It assumes that COVID-19 would gradually be brought under control in 2021 and the global economy would return to pre-crisis levels the same year.

DRS stands for Delayed Recovery Scenario. It assumes that the global economy would return to its pre-crisis size only in 2023 and the pandemic would usher in a decade with the lowest rate of energy demand growth since the 1930s.

WEO-2020 focussed on 2020-2030 as the period is very critical.    

Global energy demand would drop by five per cent in 2020, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by seven per cent and energy investment by 18 per cent as a result of COVID-19, according to WEO-2020.

“WEO-2020 shows that the era of global oil demand growth will come to an end within the next 10 years. But in the absence of major shifts in government policies, I don’t see a clear sign of global demand peak and the demand might rebound,” Fatih Birol, executive director, IEA, said during the online release of the report.

Renewables will meet 80 per cent of global electricity demand growth over the next decade. Hydropower remains the largest renewable source, but solar will be the main source of growth, followed by onshore and offshore wind.

“After a five per cent drop in energy demand in 2020, renewables will lead the rebound while coal will never get back to pre-crisis level; a delayed recovery puts energy into slow motion, prolonging today’s overhang of supply,” WEO co-lead author, Tim Gould said.

“Solar photovoltaic is now the cheapest source of electricity in most countries in part due to low financing and is set to triple before 2030 under current and proposed policies,” Laura Cozzi, another WEO co-lead author, said.

Besides STEPS and DRS, WEO-2020 provided two other potential pathways out of the crisis, covering all regions, fuels and technologies and using the latest data on energy markets, policies and costs.

The Sustainable Development Scenario or SDS assumes a surge in clean energy policies and investment puts the energy system on track to achieve sustainable energy objectives in full, including the Paris Agreement, energy access and air quality goals.

The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 or NZE2050 extends the SDS analysis. An increasing number of countries and companies are targeting net zero emissions, typically by 2050. All of these are achieved in the SDS, putting global emissions on track for net zero by 2070.

The NZE2050 includes the first detailed IEA modelling of what would be needed in the next ten years to put global carbon dioxide emissions on track for a net zero scenario by 2050.

COVID-19 will not, however, lead to a reduction in emissions. “Despite a seven per cent reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions this year, the world is far from putting the carbon emissions in a structural decline. As the economies will recover, so the emissions,” Birol said.

New Delhi-based non-profit, Centre for Science and Environment has previously discussed the challenges around the decrease in carbon emissions and power sector rival with long term implication of COVID-19. Concerted efforts are required on the part of all governments.

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