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Renewables: soon the planet’s biggest source of electricity

April 17, 2023

After slowing slightly last year amid the turmoil of the global energy crisis and exceptional weather conditions in some regions, the growth in world electricity demand is expected to accelerate to an average of 3% over the next three years, according to a new IEA report.

Renewables are set to dominate the growth of the world’s electricity supply as together with nuclear power they meet the vast majority of the increase in global demand through to 2025, making significant rises in the power sector’s carbon emissions unlikely.

The IEA’s Electricity Market Report 2023 found that emerging and developing economies in Asia are the driving forces behind this faster pace, which is a step up from average growth of 2.4% during the years before the pandemic.

More than 70% of the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years is expected to come from China, India and Southeast Asia, although considerable uncertainties remain over trends in China as its economy emerges from strict Covid restrictions. China’s share of global electricity consumption is currently forecast to rise to a new record of one-third by 2025, up from one-quarter in 2015. At the same time, advanced economies are seeking to expand electricity use to displace fossil fuels in sectors such as transport, heating and industry.

“The world’s growing demand for electricity is set to accelerate, adding more than double Japan’s current electricity consumption over the next three years,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “The good news is that renewables and nuclear power are growing quickly enough to meet almost all this additional appetite, suggesting we are close to a tipping point for power sector emissions. Governments now need to enable low-emissions sources to grow even faster and drive down emissions so that the world can ensure secure electricity supplies while reaching climate goals.”

Source: Electricity Market Report 2023 – IEA