Global electricity demand has risen to an all-time high in 2021, pushing greenhouse gas prices and emissions to record levels, a trend that is expected to continue if the sector does not move deeper faster, warns today the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Fueled by the economic recovery and more intense climate conditions than in 2020, demand increased by more than 6% in 2021, surpassing the jump recorded in 2010 during the recovery after the financial crisis. In absolute numbers, this is an unprecedented annual increase, with more than 1,500 additional terawatt hours, the IEA said in its electricity market report.
Electricity production from coal (+ 9%) and gas (+ 2%) peaked, despite the strong increase in renewable energy sources (+ 6%).
This situation led to a record carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity sector – they increased by 7% while they have been decreasing for two years. Coal accounted for more than half of the extra demand, due to the strong rise in gas prices.
The index of the International Energy Agency that monitors the wholesale prices in the main markets almost doubled compared to 2020 (+ 64% compared to the average of the years 2016-2020). In Europe, the average prices of the last quarter had almost quadrupled compared to the period 2015-2020. Strong growth is also seen in Japan and India and more moderately in the United States, which are less affected by gas supply disruptions.
But “unless there are faster structural changes in the sector, the growing demand for electricity over the next three years could lead to further market instability and the maintenance of increased emissions,” the IEA warns.
“Electricity-related emissions are expected to fall by 55% by 2030, according to our carbon neutrality scenario in 2050. But unless strong measures are taken by governments, they are expected to remain at current levels. “for the next three years,” warns Fatih Birol, the institution’s director.
“Decision-makers must act now to offset the impact on the most vulnerable and to attack the underlying causes. More investment in low-carbon technologies (renewable energy, nuclear energy, energy efficiency) and the development of “and smart grids can help us get out of today’s difficulties.”
About half of the increase in demand last year came from China (+ 10%), where, as in India, there were power outages associated with a lack of carbon.
Source From: Capital