World Energy Outlook 2016 sees renewables and natural gas transforming global energy through 2040
As a result of transformations in global energy, renewables and natural gas are big winners in the race to meet energy growth until 2040, according to the latest edition of the World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency’s flagship publication.
A detailed analysis of the pledges made for the Paris Agreement on climate change finds that the era of fossil fuels appears far from over and underscores the challenge of reaching more ambitious climate goals. Still, government policies, as well as cost reductions across the energy sector, enable a doubling of both renewables – subject of a special focus in this year’s Outlook – and of improvements in energy efficiency over the next 25 years. Natural gas continues to expand its role while the shares of coal and oil fall back.
“We see clear winners for the next 25 years, natural gas but especially wind and solar, replacing the champion of the previous 25 years, coal,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director. “But there is no single story about the future of global energy: in practice, government policies will determine where we go from here.”
World power generation will increase from 23,809 TWh in 2014 to 34,092 TWh in 2040, according to the IEA's 450 Scenario. In this scenario, global nuclear generating capacity increases from 398 GWe in 2014 to 820 GWe in 2040. Nuclear output would grow from 2535 TWh to 6101 TWh over this period, when it will account for 18% of total electricity production.
"In the case of nuclear, even though one-sixth of the global nuclear fleet is retired in the next decade (80% of this in OECD countries), overall prospects are buoyed by large new build programs in a select group of countries led by China, Russia and India," the IEA said.