WEO Week: Sectoral transitions to new energy industries
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Electricity

Modern economies depend on the reliable and affordable delivery of electricity. At the same time, the need to address climate change is driving a dramatic transformation of power systems globally.

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Key findings

Change in electricity demand in 2020 and 2021 by region

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Global electricity demand fell in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19, but a strong rebound is expected in 2021

Global electricity demand fell by around 1% in 2020, with demand declining most markedly in the first half of the year as lockdowns restricted commercial and industrial activity. Demand was, at times, 20-30% lower than pre-lockdown periods. Advanced economies recovered in the second half of 2020 but remained for the most part below 2019 levels. Some emerging markets and developing regions registered strong growth rates towards the end of the year, especially China and India, who recorded more than 8% and 6% year-on-year growth, respectively, in the last quarter of 2020.

Electricity demand is expected to increase by 4.5% in 2021, supported by rebounding economic activity and rapid growth in major emerging economies such as China.

Renewable electricity net capacity additions by technology, main and accelerated cases, 2013-2022

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Renewable power markets are more resilient than previously thought

Renewable power additions are defying Covid-19 and setting new records growing by nearly 4% globally in 2020, reaching almost 200 GW driven by higher additions of wind and hydropower. Additions are expected to increase again in 2021 by 10% reaching almost 220 GW driven by solar PV. The expiration of incentives and consequent policy uncertainties in key markets, combined with upcoming financing challenges and limited stimulus targeting renewable electricity, will lead to a small decline in capacity additions in 2022 relative to 2021.

Reports

Our work

The Users TCP’s mission is to provide evidence from socio-technical research on the design, social acceptance and usability of clean energy technologies to inform policy making for clean, efficient and secure energy transitions. Decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation are embedding energy technologies in the heart of our communities. Communities’ response to these changes and use of energy technologies will determine the success of our energy systems. Poorly designed energy policies, and technologies that do not satisfy users’ needs, lead to ‘performance gaps’ that are both energy and economically inefficient. User-centred energy systems are therefore critical for delivering socially and politically acceptable energy transitions.

The mission of the HTS TCP is twofold: to evaluate the status of and assess the prospects for the electric power sector's use of HTS within the developed and developing world; and to disseminate the findings to decision makers in government, the private sector, and the research and development community. The HTS TCP provides evidence from socio-technical research on energy use to policy makers to support clean energy transitions. Through its work the HTS TCP provides evidence on the design, social acceptance and usability of clean energy technologies in the area of high temperature superconductivity.

The ISGAN TCP is a strategic platform to support high-level government attention and action for the accelerated development and deployment of smarter, cleaner electricity grids around the world. Operating as both an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial, and as a TCP, the ISGAN TCP provides an important channel for communication of experience, trends, lessons learned, and visions in support of clean energy objectives as well as new flexible and resilient solutions for smart grids.

Through multi-disciplinary international collaborative research and knowledge exchange, as well as market and policy recommendations, the SHC TCP works to increase the deployment rate of solar heating and cooling systems by breaking down the technical and non-technical barriers to increase deployment.

The Hydrogen TCP, founded in 1977, works to accelerate hydrogen implementation and widespread utilisation in the areas of production, storage, distribution, power, heating, mobility and industry. The Hydrogen TCP seeks to optimise environmental protection, improve energy security, transform global energy systems and grid management, and promote international economic development, as well as serving as the premier global resource for expertise in all aspects of hydrogen technology.

The mission of the Energy Storage TCP is to facilitate research, development, implementation and integration of energy storage technologies to optimise the energy efficiency of all kinds of energy systems and enable the increasing use of renewable energy. Storage technologies are a central component in energy-efficient and sustainable energy systems. Energy storage is a cross-cutting issue that relies on expert knowledge of many disciplines. The Energy Storage TCP fosters widespread experience, synergies and cross-disciplinary co-ordination of working plans and research goals