World Needs Urgent Transition To Renewables: IEA

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IEA Urges Large Scale Adoption Of Renewables In Report Ahead Of COP-26

The International Energy Authority (IEA) said in its report released today on Wednesday that the world needs to transition urgently to renewable sources of energy. In its report titled World Energy Outlook 2021 it said: “The world is not investing enough to meet its future energy needs … transition‐related spending is gradually picking up, but remains far short of what is required to meet rising demand for energy services in a sustainable way”.

The report says that the investment in renewable sources of energy needs to be tripled by the end of the decade if significant action on climate change and volatile energy markets is to be achieved.

World Energy Outlook is the Paris-based advocacy and watchdog organization’s annual publication which has been released early this year to guide the upcoming COP 26 Summit is Glasgow, UK. It said that the summit is the “first test of the readiness of countries to submit new and more ambitious commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement” and “an opportunity to provide an ‘unmistakable signal’ that accelerates the transition to clean energy worldwide”.

The UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in its report Infrastructure for Climate Action 2021 shows the predominance of the energy sector in emissions: 

The ‘rebound’ in energy demand and investment after the pandemic needs to be handled by an increased share of renewables like solar, wind, hydropower, and bioenergy. Emissions in 2021 are bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels and are set to establish a new record. The UNOPS also depicts the sectoral influences on the 2030 SDG's set by the UN, and energy figures high on the list yet again: 

IEA Says Need To “Phase Out” From Coal

The IEA’s report highlights the fact that halting the expansion of coal as a source of energy is a primary feature of all scenarios “that meet climate goals”. It points out that coal use predominates in the electricity generation sector, a field “where renewable energy options are the most cost-effective new sources in most markets”. There are three scenarios envisioned for meeting climate goals by 2030: STEPS, APS, and NZE, in which the respective “unabated coal use in the energy system” are 5%, 10%, and 55%.

There are two ways to manage and eventually bring down the contribution of coal to electricity generation. The first and more preferable is to halt the construction of new plants, and the second is to manage emissions from existing plants. The report states that all G-7 have committed to ending support for unabated coal-fired power, while China has announced ceasing the construction of new plants abroad in the recently concluded 76th UN General Assembly.

Over the past few days, the issue of coal shortage and resultant fear of interruptions of power supply has gained traction in India. It is an emerging economy like China and hence the transition from coal to other sources of energy is complicated by developmental priorities and other factors.

There have been reports in multiple parts of the country that coal-based power plants are shutting down due to depleted stocks, while Tata Power operating in northwestern Delhi even issued an SMS apprising its customers of upcoming load shedding due to the same issue. The government has reacted dismissively over “panic” being created.

Yet, the PMO and Home Ministry have held meetings and consultations on the issue. The Coal Ministry has informed that India has 22 days of stock at present. India depends heavily on coal: around 80% of its total power generation is based on this fuel.

The report says that “In India… 50 GW of financially stressed coal assets has created strains in the banking system”. He government’s strategies for transition to clean energy are based on “market-based economic dispatch and the accelerated closure of the least efficient plants”.

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