International Energy Agency Releases World Energy Outlook

The Copenhagen Accord and agreements among G20 nations to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to reach a goal of energy sustainability, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka.

Tanaka spoke during the release of IEA's annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) report in London. The central scenario in this year's WEO – the New Policies Scenario – takes account of the broad policy commitments and plans that have been announced by countries around the world.

In the New Policies Scenario, Non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries account for 93% of the projected increase in world primary energy demand. China – which IEA preliminary data suggest overtook the U.S. in 2009 to become the world's largest energy user despite its low per capita energy use – contributes 36% to the projected growth in global energy use.

Globally, fossil fuels remain dominant over the WEO period in the New Policies Scenario, though their share of the overall energy mix falls in favor of renewable energy sources and nuclear power. Oil remains the leading fuel in the energy mix by 2035, followed by coal. Of the three fossil fuels, gas consumption grows most rapidly, with its share of total energy use almost reaching that of coal.

‘Renewable energy can play a central role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and diversifying energy supplies, but only if strong and sustained support is made available,’ says Tanaka.

In the scenario, government intervention in support of renewables increases from $57 billion in 2009 to $205 billion (in 2009 dollars) by 2035. The share of modern renewable energy sources, including sustainable hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, modern biomass and marine energy, in global primary energy use triples between 2008 and 2035; their combined share in total primary energy demand increases from 7% to 14%.

SOURCE: International Energy Agency

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