Solar energy could be world’s leader of electricity markets: In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, solar energy could emerge as “the new king of the world’s electricity markets”, which the International Energy Agency (IEA) says will reshape the future of energy forever.

In a new study, the organisation explores a number of different scenarios over the next decade whilst examining the impact of the pandemic upon the sector.

“I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets. Based on today’s policy settings, it is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022.

“If governments and investors step up their clean energy efforts in line with our Sustainable Development Scenario, the growth of both solar and wind would be even more spectacular – and hugely encouraging for overcoming the world’s climate challenge.” Director Fatih Birol stated.

He further explained: “The era of global oil demand growth will come to an end in the next decade. But without a large shift in government policies, there is no sign of a rapid decline. Based on today’s policy settings, a global economic rebound would soon push oil demand back to pre-crisis levels.”

In order to get back on track for a strong future energy system that can meet international climate goals by the agreed deadlines, the IEA calls for a “surge” in well-designed energy approaches to overcome disruption & uncertainty and it predicts global energy demand is on track to drop by 5% in 2020, energy investment by 18% and energy-related carbon emissions by 7%.

“Whether this upheaval ultimately helps or hinders efforts to accelerate clean energy transitions and reach international energy and climate goals will depend on how governments respond to today’s challenges.”  The report states.

It predicts that if currently declared policy intentions & targets stay in place, global energy demand will rebound to pre-crisis levels in early 2023 – however, this will not happen until 2025 in the Delayed Recovery Scenario, which sees a “prolonged pandemic and deeper slump”.

With solar taking the leading role, the renewables play a vital part of the power mix in each of the imagined scenarios.

The IEA says supportive policies & maturing technologies emphasises that solar is now consistently cheaper than new coal or gas-fired power plants in most parts of the world and is  enabling cost-competitive access to capital in leading markets.

The report, in it’s Stated Policies Scenario expects renewables will make up roughly 80% of the worlds’ electricity demand growth over the next decade, with hydropower staying the most significant renewable resource, with solar making up the primary source of growth, followed by onshore & offshore wind.

“Despite a record drop in global emissions this year, the world is far from doing enough to put them into decisive decline. The economic downturn has temporarily suppressed emissions, but low economic growth is not a low-emissions strategy – it is a strategy that would only serve to further impoverish the world’s most vulnerable populations.

“Only faster structural changes to the way we produce and consume energy can break the emissions trend for good. Governments have the capacity and the responsibility to take decisive actions to accelerate clean energy transitions and put the world on a path to reaching our climate goals, including net-zero emissions.” Said Dr Birol.

Solar energy could be world’s leader of electricity markets

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