The International Energy Agency (IEA) rolled out its annual World Energy Outlook report this week with a bombshell. Solar power is expected to replace coal as the #1 source of energy production by 2025.

Solar cheaper in most countries

In the last few years, governments and corporations flooded billions of dollars into the renewable energy space. Wind & solar energy have become cheaper than gas & oil as a result. It is now easier to manufacture and install solar panels than ever before.

Solar investment will ignite change (not the climate kind)

  • The IEA thinks 80% of new power generation will come from renewables.
  • We need to boost up investment in the energy grid by at least $460 billion in 2030 to hit our goals.
  • The global economy will return to pre-covid levels in 2021, but 7% smaller over long term compared to 2019 projections.

Southeast Asia, Africa have big solar-powered shoes to fill

China alone will account for 40% of global growth for electricity demand over the next ten years. Southeast Asia and Africa will see major demand increases for energy over the next few decades. Renewables need to be at the center of that demand spike for a sustainable future.

Meanwhile, IEA’s report found that global CO2 emissions will not return to 2019 levels until 2027, due to energy mix with renewables and coal’s big drop in 2020.

Lower emissions are just the beginning

We need a structural transformation of the global energy sector to hit on sdg’s (those UN-sanctioned green goals we keep talking about), and that requires a lot of clean capital stock.

Though the report highlights low growth of emissions through the 2020s, it also clarifies that reduced emissions do not equate to a climate change solution. Reducing carbon intensity in the Earth’s atmosphere is merely a means to an end.

Solar will replace coal this decade

Bottom line? Solar will replace coal as the leader in energy production before 2030. The IEA thinks this will happen by 2025. It’s important to note, however, that with a fundamental shift taking place in the energy market, more than just cash will be required to succeed.
Experts point to an inverse relationship between investment in renewables and divestment from fossil fuels; the energy market will have to react accordingly.

You can find the full IEA report here.

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