Global trends on renewables, energy efficiency and carbon emissions
IEA Report 2018
According to International Energy Agency Status Report 2018 on Global Energy & CO2 energy consumption in 2018 increased grew by 2.3% which istwice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy and higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world. Demand for all fuels increased, led by natural gas, even as solar and wind posted double digit growth.
Weather conditions last year were also responsible for almost a fifth of the increase in global energy demand. Cold snaps drove demand for heating and, more significantly, hotter summer temperatures pushed up demand for cooling.
Higher electricity demand was responsible for over half of the growth in energy needs. Energy efficiency saw insufficient improvement. As a result of higher energy consumption, CO2 emissions rose 1.7% last year and hit a new record. Coal-fired power generation continues to be the single largest emitter, accounting for 30% of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
CO2 emissions stagnated between 2014 and 2016, even as the global economy continued to expand. This decoupling was primarily the result of strong energy efficiency improvements and low-carbon technology deployment, leading to a decline in coal demand. But the dynamics changed in 2017 and 2018. Higher economic growth was not met by higher energy productivity, lower-carbon options did not scale fast enough to meet the rise in demand.
Renewables increased by 4% in 2018, accounting for almost one-quarter of global energy demand growth. The power sector led the gains, with renewables-based electricity generation increasing at its fastest pace this decade. Solar PV, hydropower, and wind each accounted for about a third of the growth, with bioenergy accounting for most of the rest. Renewables covered almost 45% of the world’s electricity generation growth, now accounting for over 25% of global power output.
Energy efficiency across the global economy continued to improve in 2018, with global primary energy intensity falling by 1.3%. But this was lower than improvement rates seen in recent years. Although efficiency was still the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions abatement in the energy sector, 2018 marked the third consecutive year in which the improvement rate for energy efficiency slowed.