Bright outlook for renewables, according to International Energy Agency

28-11-2014, London, United Kingdom

“As our global energy system grows and transforms, signs of stress continue to emerge,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “But renewables are expected to go from strength to strength, and it is incredible that we can now see a point where they become the world’s number one source of electricity generation.” (

The International Energy Agency (IEA) issued its annual flagship publication - World Energy Outlook 2014. IEA presents projections of energy trends until 2040. It discusses fossil fuels, renewables, energy efficiency and  access to modern energy services.

IEA warns that the world energy demand will be 37% higher by 2040, putting more pressure on the global energy system. By this time the energy supply in the world will be divided almost equally between low-carbon sources (nuclear and renewables), oil, natural gas and coal. The share of fossil fuels at this level in 2040 is not enough to stem the rise in CO2 emissions, which will grow by one-fifth. In this scenario a long-term global average temperature increase will be at the level of of 3.6°C. IEA calls for actions that will limit the temperature increase to internationally agreed 2°C.

IEA is, however, positive about renewables development. The subsidies for renewable energy amounted to $120 billion in 2013 and with rapid cost reductions and continued support, the renewables will account for nearly half of the global increase in power generation by 2040 and overtake coal as a leading source of electricity. Wind power has the largest share of growth in renewables (34%), followed by hydropower (30%) and solar technologies (18%). IEA notices that the integration of wind and solar energy becomes more challenging both from a technical and market perspective as their share in the world’s power mix quadruples.

The Outlook discusses also energy crisis in sub-Saharian Africa where still two out of three people do not have access to electricity, while fossil fuel subsidies (at the level of $550 billion in 2013) do not address those most in need and also discourage investments in efficiency and renewables.


Read the Executive Summary