Renewable energy to match coal generation by 2040

By 2040, global power generated by clean energy generation will match that of coal generation.

That’s according to the latest international report provided by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The ‘International Energy Outlook 2017’ (IEO2017) reveals that coal generation will fall to a mere 31 percent of all energy generation by 2040.

Alongside that, renewable energy production is expected to rise by an average of 2.8 percent annually to 31 percent. Solar and wind energy are projected to form two-thirds of all renewable additions in 2040.

“Energy intensity has been decreasing for a while,” said Ian Maule, who spearheaded the analysis for the EIA.

“What’s different going forward is that carbon intensity associated with the non-OECD world is also dropping,” he said.

Rising global energy needs

Globally, more than 20 trillion kWh of electricity were consumed in 2010, with that demand expected to increase to slightly below 35 trillion kWh in 2040. Notably, the developing, non-OECD nations are expected to record the highest growth rate in electricity generation.

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The report further reveals that coal will remain the leading source of electricity generation in China through to 2040. However, this reliance will drop from the current 72 percent to 47 percent in 2040.

Electricity generation from renewables in China will also increase from the current 22 percent to 34 percent, with much of the increase coming from wind which foresees a more than six-fold growth.

China will experience the highest growth in nuclear generation in the world, with nuclear increasing from a 3 percent share of the country’s energy generation to 11 percent.

The world’s coal generation future

The global generation of coal is expected to remain at around 8 billion tonnes from 2015 to 2040.

The report’s projections also show constant trend when it comes to the overall world production capacity, however, the producer profiles are likely to change.

Today, China, India and the US are the largest coal producers in the world. Notably, among the three countries, it’s only India that recorded a growth in coal production in the IEO2017.

Besides India, coal production is expected to increase in Africa and Australia. In addition, the report indicates that use of coal will continue to grow in India and a few other developing countries.

Sadly, this seems to be offsetting reduction milestones achieved in coal-related carbon emissions in other parts of the world.

Renewables to match coal generation by 2040

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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