Renewables surpass coal by 2035, says IEA

As long as subsidies stay intact, the International Energy Agency sees renewables replacing coal by 2035.

"Renewables become the world’s second-largest source of power generation by 2015 and close in on coal as the primary source by 2035," writes the agency, which released its World Energy Outlook report on Monday.

"However, this rapid increase hinges critically on continued subsidies. In 2011, these subsidies (including for biofuels) amounted to $88 billion, but over the period to 2035 need to amount to $4.8 trillion; over half of this has already been committed to existing projects or is needed to meet 2020 targets."

Unconventional oil and gas production will result in a "sea-change" in global energy flows. The IEA estimates that the USA becomes a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and self sufficient by 2035. Unconventional oil production will grow the strongest in China, USA and Australia.

With less need for exports, more and more of Middle East oil will be heading to Asia. By 2035 around 90% of Middle East oil will be exported to Asia.

After 2035 Iraq will account for 45% of the growth in global oil production and will overtake Russia to become the second-largest global oil exporter.

The future for coal remains uncertain due to regulatory concerns. There will be increased demand in China and India.

Uranium will still have a role.

"Ambitions for nuclear have been scaled back as countries have reviewed policies following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, but capacity is still projected to rise, led by China, Korea, India and Russia."

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