28 November, Paris – According to the annual World Energy Outlook 2014 report, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in November, renewable energy will supply almost half of global growth in power generation to 2040, but integrating this new supply into the grid might prove difficult.
IEA chief economist Fatih Birol warned however that managing the electricity system with large amounts of renewables will be a problem for Europe as many European countries do not invest in base-load supply such as hydro or gas to balance intermittent renewables.
The IEA forecasts renewable electricity generation will nearly triple by 2040 when it will make up 33% of total global power generation. This will see renewables overtake gas as the second largest electricity source in the next few years and become the biggest source ahead of coal after 2035.
Despite this positive outlook for renewables, the IEA warns that the global energy system is not being transformed quickly enough to avoid climate change. The IEA projects that the entire carbon budget for 2100 is set to be consumed by 2040, putting the world on track to a 3.6-degree temperature rise.
The IEA concludes that in order to limit this temperature increase to 2 °C – the internationally agreed goal to avert the most severe and widespread implications of climate change – urgent action to steer the energy system on to a safer path is required. This will be the focus of a World Energy Outlook Special Report, to be released in mid-2015 in advance of the critical UN climate talks in Paris.