Analysis of the International Energy Agency (IEA) pointed out that new power plants around the world will essentially be established on renewable and nuclear energy throughout the next several years, while power generation through fossil fuels that are currently mainstream would gradually phase out due to environmental pollution.
IEA estimates low-carbon energy will fulfill more than 90% new power demand by 2025 mostly from renewable energy such as solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity. Renewable energy would occupy 35% of global power generation then, while coal-fired power will drop to 33%. Nuclear power, as it resurges nowadays, is manifesting a mild recovery, and could arrive at 10% of global power by 2025. Natural gas, on the other hand, would maintain at about 20%.
China, India, and Southeast Asia are expected to account for more than 70% growth of global power demand throughout the next three years. China, despite steady revocation of COVID restrictions, remains full of uncertainties, though IEA estimates that the country would climb from 1/4 in 2015 to an all-time high 1/3 regarding the ratio of global power consumption by 2025.
IEA also estimates the carbon dioxide emission of the power industry to gradually stabilize or reduce after arriving at the peak in 2022. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, comment that the tipping point of carbon emission for power departments is drawing near.
Each country is attempting to realize its own energy target under the mission of energy conservation and carbon reduction, as well as social pressure, and many countries are aiming to accomplish net zero emission by 2050. Such implementations, whilst propelling changes in power structures, are also facilitating a reduction in the cost of solar and wind power, allowing renewable energy to become one of the most affordable power sources.
However, the increasingly severe status of extreme weather is also impacting energy infrastructures, since wind power, solar power, and hydroelectricity are all dependent on the weather. The disastrous drought in 2022 had not only affected the level of hydroelectricity in the US, Europe, and China, which disturbed power consumption among local factories and the public, but also overwhelmed France’s nuclear power since cooling reactors of nuclear power plants require water from rivers.
IEA mentioned from its report that these predicaments are sufficient evidences that power supply and demand are becoming more dependent on the weather, and are introducing significant pressure for power grids. Aside from being cleaner and more flexible, power grids must also become faster in response in the future.
(Cover photo source: pixabay)