The global energy system will look "considerably different" by the end of the decade, with fossil fuel demand peaking and clean energy rising, the International Energy Agency said in a new report.
Its World Energy Outlook 2023 released Oct. 24 said that the "phenomenal rise of clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, electric cars and heat pumps is reshaping how we power everything from factories and vehicles to home appliances and heating systems."
The "significantly greater role" that those technologies will play by 2030 includes a nearly tenfold increase in electric cars worldwide and solar photovoltaics generating more electricity than current U.S. power system. Renewables' share of the global electricity mix will rise to 50% from the current 30% and investment in new offshore wind projects will triple those into new coal- and gas-fired power plants, the report said.
It also set the stage for "the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era" because of the clean energy momentum, with the share of coal, oil and natural gas in global energy supply that has been "stuck for decades around 80%" potentially falling by 2030, the agency said.
The report also noted China's influence in shaping global energy trends and said that as its economy reaches an inflection point and it becomes a clean energy powerhouse, that could also dampen demand for fossil fuels, the report said.
The IEA strategy for clean energy's increased use has five key pillars: tripling global renewable capacity; doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements; slashing methane emissions from fossil fuel operations by 75%; innovative, tripling clean energy investments in emerging and developing economies through large-scale financing; and an orderly decline in fossil fuel use.
"The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide and it's unstoppable," said Fatih Birol in a release on the report. "Governments, companies and investors need to get behind clean energy transitions rather than hindering them."