Clean energy is improving but not fast enough to solve climate change, according to the International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook report.
The 661-page report, which forecasts global energy trends up until 2040, says the electricity sector is currently undergoing its ‘most dramatic transformation since its creation’.
One of the main reasons for this transformation is the rise of wind and solar power, but it is still is not happening fast enough, the report found.
If current trends continue the global demand for oil will keep rising to at least 2040, largely driven by an increase in demand from developing countries.
Clean energy is improving but not fast enough to solve climate change, according to the International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook report (stock image)
‘If the world is serious about meeting its climate targets then, as of today, there needs to be a systematic preference for investment in sustainable energy technologies’, said Dr Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Executive Director.
‘But we also need to be much smarter about the way that we use our existing energy system’, he said.
The report found that governments need forceful policy measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
‘To be successful, this will need an unprecedented global political and economic effort’, he said.
The agency predicts that renewable power will supply 40 per cent of the world’s electricity by 2040, writes the New York Times.
The cost of solar power has decreased by 65 per cent in the past five years and is likely to fall further.
In order to manage the output from wind and solar energy, countries will need to change how electricity markets work.
The report predicated that China’s coal consumption would plateau in 2025 with renewables becoming the country’s biggest source of electricity in 2040.
However, carbon-free sources of energy are not growing fast enough to keep up with growing economies in places like India.
This means that use of fossil fuels will continue to rise in order to fill the gap.
One of the main reasons for this transformation is the rise of wind and solar power, but it still is not happening fast enough, the report found (stock image)
Last week it was revealed Britain’s renewable electricity capacity overtook that of fossil fuel generators such as gas and coal for the first time.
Britain aims to increase its renewable output and close its coal-fired power plants by 2025 as part of efforts to meet climate targets.
Available capacity of renewable electricity generation such as wind, solar and biomass hit 42 gigawatts (GW) in Britain this year.
This eclipsed the 40.6 GW available from fossil fuel generators, research by Imperial College London for coal and biomass generator Drax’s (DRX.L) Electric Insights report series showed.
‘A third of fossil fuel generating capacity has retired over the last five years – whilst the capacity from wind, solar, biomass, hydro and other renewables has tripled,’ the report said.
This year Britain’s renewable capacity has been boosted by the addition of several offshore wind projects including the Walney Extension which at 660 megawatts is the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
Of the main renewable sources, Britain now has more than 20 GW of wind power capacity, 13 GW of solar and 3.2 GW of biomass, the report said.
Britain has a target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2050 and has asked its climate change experts to advise on whether it should set a date to meet a net zero emissions target.
WHAT IS BIOFUEL AND HOW IS IT PRODUCED?
Biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power.
Some examples of materials that make up biomass fuels are scrap lumber, forest debris, crops, manure and some types of waste residues.
With a constant supply of waste – from construction and demolition activities, to wood not used in papermaking, to municipal solid waste – green energy production can continue indefinitely.
Biomass is a renewable source of fuel to produce energy because waste residues will always exist – in terms of scrap wood, mill residuals and forest resources.
Properly managed forests will always have more trees, and we will always have crops and the residual biological matter from those crops.
Biomass power is carbon neutral electricity generated from this renewable organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills, openly burned, or left as fodder for forest fires.
When burned, the energy in biomass is released as heat. If you have a fireplace, you already are participating in the use of biomass as the wood you burn in it is a biomass fuel.
In biomass power plants, wood waste or other waste is burned to produce steam that runs a turbine to make electricity, or that provides heat to industries and homes.
Fortunately, new technologies – including pollution controls and combustion engineering – have advanced to the point that any emissions from burning biomass in industrial facilities are generally less than emissions produced when using fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.