Power sector carbon emissions to dip as renewables outpace coal

Wind turbines. (Image from Pixnio).

A surge in renewable power coupled with a slowdown in China will see carbon emissions from electricity production ease from the record level last year, according to the International Energy Agency.

Emissions from power generation are set to decline about 0.3% this year, down from a forecast in January that emissions would remain flat, the IEA said in its Electricity Market Report. That pace will need to increase more quickly to get the world on a trajectory that will avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

Measures to restrict the spread of Covid-19 in China have contributed to a slowdown in industrial activity as well as supply restrictions in the U.S. will nearly offset higher coal-fired power output in Europe. Overall, coal generation is set to increase about 0.3%, lower than the IEA’s previous forecast. Next year, the IEA expects coal generation to decline 1%.

Renewable power is set to grow 11% this year, as demand grows around the world for alternatives to increasingly expensive fossil fuels.

Overall, global electricity consumption in 2022 is set to increase by 2.4%, similar to the average from 2015 to 2019, but lower than the 3% growth the IEA forecast at the beginning of the year.

(By William Mathis)

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