World’s energy hunger continues to increase; report

The world has seen a remarkable growth in renewable power over the past five years but the overall global hunger for energy has been increasing and was eating upon progress, according to Renewables 2020 Global Status Report (REN21) released on Wednesday, June 16.

The report calls for switching over to efficient and renewable energy in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic. Noting that fantastic progress was made in renewable power sector, REN21’s Executive Director Rana Adib said “Many national and global organisations already cry victory. But our report sends a clear warning: The progress in the power sector is only a small part of the picture. It is eaten up as the world’s energy hunger continues to increase. If we do not change the entire energy system, we are deluding ourselves.”

The report says that heating, cooling and transport sectors are still the same as it was ten years ago. Adib said that it was time to stop heating homes and driving cars with fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency has forecast a fall by eight per cent in carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 because of Covid lockdown. However, Adib said that the change in carbon emission would not see a big difference even if lock-downs were to continue for a decade. In the present rate with the current system and current market rules, it would take the world forever to come anywhere near a no-carbon system, the Executive Director added.

The report notes that green recovery measures, such as investment in renewable and building efficiency, are more cost-effective than traditional stimulus measures and yield good returns. It also documents that renewables deliver on job creation, energy sovereignty, accelerated energy access in developing countries, reduced emissions and air pollution.

Highlights of the report:

  • Total final energy demand continued to rise (1.4% annually from 2013 to 2018). Despite progress in renewable power generation, share of renewables in total final energy demand barely increased (9.6% in 2013 to 11% in 2018). Heating, cooling and transport sectors lag far behind (heating and cooling 10%, transport 3%).
  • 11 million people employed worldwide in 2018 in renewable energy sector
  • In 2019, the private sector signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for a record growth of over 43% from 2018 to 2019 in new renewable power capacity.
  • Today’s progress is largely the result of policies and regulations initiated years ago. Major barriers seen in heating, cooling and transport still the same a decade on. Policies needed to create the right market conditions.
  • Global climate agitations have created results. As of April 2020, 1490 jurisdictions – spanning 29 countries and covering 822 million citizens – had issued “climate emergency declarations, many of which include plans and targets for more renewable-based energy systems.
  • Some countries are phasing out coal and others continue to invest in new coal-fired power plants. In addition, funding from private banks for fossil fuel projects has increased each year since the signing of the Paris Agreement, totalling USD 2.7 trillion over the last three years.


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