Paris: The world faces more years of high energy
prices and emissions unless the electricity sector changes faster after demand
hit a record last year, the International Energy Agency said Friday

The economic recovery from the Covid
pandemic, combined with unusual weather conditions, caused electricity demand
to jump by more than six percent in 2021, the largest increase since 2010, the
IEA said.

In absolute terms, the increase of more than 1,500 terawatt-hours
was the largest ever, the Paris-based agency said in its semi-annual
Electricity Market Report.

This pushed prices to unprecedented levels while emissions from
the electricity sector rose by seven percent in 2021 — an all-time high after
having decreased the previous two years, the IEA said.

While renewable power experienced “impressive growth”,
electricity generation from coal and natural gas hit record levels, the report

“In the absence of faster structural change in the sector,
rising demand over the next three years could result in additional market
volatility and continued high emissions,” the IEA said.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said emissions from electricity
must fall by 55 percent by 2030 if the world is to meet a target of net-zero
carbon emissions by 2050.

“But in the absence of major policy action from governments,
those emissions are set to remain around the same level for the next three
years,” Birol said in a statement.

“Not only does this highlight how far off track we currently
are from a pathway to net zero emissions by 2050, but it also underscores the
massive changes needed for the electricity sector to fulfil its critical role
in decarbonising the broader energy system.”

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