By Paul Homewood

Global renewable electricity installation will hit a record level in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, in sharp contrast with the declines caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the fossil fuel sectors.

The IEA report published on Tuesday says almost 90% of new electricity generation in 2020 will be renewable, with just 10% powered by gas and coal. The trend puts green electricity on track to become the largest power source in 2025, displacing coal, which has dominated for the past 50 years.

“Renewable power is defying the difficulties caused by the pandemic, showing robust growth while others fuels struggle,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director. “The resilience and positive prospects of the sector are clearly reflected by continued strong appetite from investors.” Fossil fuels have had a turbulent time in 2020 as Covid-related measures caused demand from transport and other sectors to plunge.

“In 2025, renewables are set to become the largest source of electricity generation worldwide, ending coal’s five decades as the top power provider,” Birol said. “By that time, renewables are expected to supply one-third of the world’s electricity.”

Fatih Birol long ago became a shill for renewables, and consequently lost any trust. And, as you might have guessed, renewable energy is not about to take over the world, as Birol would like you to believe.

For a start, he sneakily includes hydro in with the other renewables, even though it is traditional to keep it separate. In essence, any further increases in hydro capacity will be extremely limited, so it is only wind and solar that are relevant. He also includes biomass, which is unlikely to increase much more.

Including hydro and bio, renewables already account for 26%, so to increase this share to a third by 2030 is no great deal. However, wind and solar only account for 8%.

BP Energy Review 2019

The Guardian also misleadingly claim that almost 90% of new electricity generation in 2020 will be renewable. This is a pretty meaningless statement, as very little new conventional generating capacity is being built in Europe and N America.

The simple fact is that new solar and wind capacity cannot even keep up with increasing demand:

BP Energy Review 2019

Currently about 60 GW of wind and 100 GW of solar power is being added each year globally. This is enough to produce about 200 TWh annually. Yet demand increased by more than 500 TWh a year since 2010.

The IEA report reckons that wind and solar will add 187 GW a year up to 2025, so little will actually change, despite the propaganda from Birol.

As the article points out, electricity only accounts for about a fifth of total energy. I(f attempts are made to electrify cars and heating, this extra demand cannot be met from renewable energy, and will have to be supplied from fossil fuels.

In short, the world will be as dependent on fossil fuels in 2030 as it is now.


November 11, 2020 at 12:03PM