By 2020, more than 50 per cent of our world’s energy needs will be met from renewable sources, according to new figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
That figure is the highest since the agency began recording such data in the 1970s, and the biggest increase since the 1970’s, when it hit about a quarter of all energy consumption.
This week, IEA deputy director Daniel Dettwyler said that the rise of renewables was a key driver behind the rise in energy demand, and that it was likely to be a key factor for future growth in global energy demand.
The agency’s latest World Energy Outlook, released last week, said that if renewable energy is added to the mix of energy sources to account for their share of the world’s demand, global demand for energy will jump from 4.3 trillion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2030 to 8.1 trillion tonnes in 2050, and 9.4 trillion tonnes by 2060.
In 2020, the average global demand was 1.2 trillion tonnes.
Detttyler said the growth of renewables would have an impact on global CO2 emissions, and predicted that “by 2060 we will need to increase our energy use by 30 per cent to offset our current CO2 levels”.
The world’s power stations have a total capacity of about 15 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, but that has already fallen from about 20 billion tonnes in 2005, according in part to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“In 2050 we are not likely to have enough CO2 to offset all of our current carbon emissions,” Dettwyli said.
What is a solar photovoltaic system? “
That is why we need to see new, cleaner, more sustainable ways of using our energy.”
What is a solar photovoltaic system?
Solar panels produce electricity when the sun is shining on a sunny day, and are also the main energy sources for batteries, electric vehicles and wind turbines.
Solar panels are also used in homes and businesses to produce heat and power lighting.
In the US, solar panels make up the largest percentage of the energy used in electric vehicles, but they are also being increasingly used to produce power for homes and offices, where the panels are placed on rooftops.
“We’re now looking at the potential for these solar panels to be replacing batteries, and we are seeing this in the market,” Dierwyla said.
Solar power is currently the most energy-intensive energy source in the world, but the world is on track to meet nearly half its electricity needs from renewables by 2050, according the World Bank.
Achieving a net-zero emissions scenario would require a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the IEA says.
Dierwyler highlighted that a large percentage of emissions came from burning fossil fuels, which account for more than 40 per cent the world carbon dioxide emissions.
He said that while carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, it is also a “critical element” for many human processes and ecosystems.
He highlighted the role that carbon dioxide plays in the evolution of the earth, as well as its role in food production.
Dattwyler also noted that the world was now more than 10 years into the transition to renewable energy, which means that the need to reduce energy use is increasing.
“If you think about all the things that have to be done to achieve a net zero emissions scenario, we are on track now to achieve the same result as the 1990s and 2000s,” he said.
However, Dettwi said that a net energy system will require significant investment in new technologies.
“For example, new batteries need to be developed and they need to work in combination with solar and wind,” he explained.
But there are technologies that we are confident will be commercially viable in a couple of decades and that will lead to a significant increase in our energy usage.”