Global energy systems will rely on renewables amid fossil fuel collapse: IEA

Renewable electricity will prop up global energy systems more than ever before this year following the COVID-19-induced collapse in demand for fossil fuels including oil, gas and coal.

This assertion was made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest report on the global energy market.

IEA projected multi-decade lows for global consumption of oil, gas and coal while countries around the world remain in lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, but added that renewable energy will continue to grow during the most severe plunge in energy demand since the second world war.

The combination of a steady rise in renewable energy and the collapse in demand for fossil fuels in 2020 means clean electricity will help erase a decade’s growth of global carbon emissions.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said: “The plunge in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for coal, oil and gas. Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard of slump in electricity use.”

Renewable energy is expected to grow by 5% this year, to comprise almost 30% of the world’s reduced demand for electricity. Birol added that the growth of renewables could spur fossil fuel companies towards their goals to generate more clean energy.