Emissions are expected to increase as the global power supply rises - IEA
PARIS, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Global electricity demand for the next few years is expected to grow to an unprecedented level in 2021, but it will continue to result in higher carbon emissions, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In 2021, global electricity demand rose by 6% or 1,500 terawatt hours (TWh), the highest percentage gain since the recovery from a global financial crisis in 2010 and the highest total increase on record.
China created about half of the increase in global electricity demand last year with a 10% increase.
In the near future, global electricity demand is expected to drop as energy efficiency measures take effect and economic recovery slows.
According to the report, the risk of the coronavirus epidemic and rising energy costs are still high.
South East Asia is expected to have the highest electricity demand, increasing by an average of 5% between 2022 and 2024, followed by the Asia Pacific region, which includes China, at around 4% over that period, slightly less pre-pandemic levels.
Demand in North America and Latin America has risen by around 1% over 2022-2024, with the highest percentage gains in Mexico and Canada at 34% a year.
In 2022, Europe is expected to continue to grow by 1.2 percent, and then remain stable in both 2023 and 2024.
CO dioxide emissions in the power sector rose by 7% to a new high in 2021, compared to the previous two years.
According to the report, slower electricity demand and the increase of low-carbon generation should limit emissions growth to less than 1% per year between 2022 and 2024.
According to the International Energy Agency, for its ability to decarbonize the energy system, the electricity industry needs significant improvements in energy efficiency and low-carbon supply.
Fossil fuel generation is expected to continue over the next three years, while renewables are expected to grow by 8% per year through 2024, accounting for over 90% of total demand growth in that period.
David Jones, the global leader for Ember's independent climate policy firm, said: "Failure to build enough clean electricity to keep up with demand will slow the phase-out of coal-fired and gas-fired electricity, a mistake we cannot afford to make for the climate."
China expects the most growth to take place until 2024, with the rest expected for India at 12%, Europe at 7%, and the United States at 4%.
The IEA said that a surge in consumption in the United States combined with a reduced natural gas and coal supply caused high electricity prices and negative consequences on power generators, retailers and end-users.
The IEA's price index for major wholesale electricity markets in 2021 nearly doubled compared to 2020, up 66 percent from the 2016 to 2020 average.
"Desperate increases in electricity prices have caused havoc for many households and businesses around the world, putting the economy at risk of causing political and social controversies," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
The IEA did not give details on where price volatility might be most concentrated over the next few years.