Mainly Coal Powered Economic Growth in 2021 and 2022

Global electricity demand will rebound strongly in 2021 and 2022. After falling by around 1% in 2020, global electricity demand is set to grow by close to 5% in 2021 and by 4% in 2022. The majority of these increases will take place in the Asia Pacific region. More than half of global growth in 2022 will be from China and India will be 9%. Fossil fuel-based electricity is set to cover 45% of additional demand in 2021 and 40% in 2022. Coal-fired electricity generation, after declining by 4.6% in 2020, will increase by almost 5% in 2021 to exceed pre-pandemic levels. It will grow by a further 3% in 2022 and could set an all-time high.

CO2 emissions from the electricity sector will increase by 3.5% in 2021 and by 2.5% in 2022. Emission had fallen by 1% in 2019 and by 3.5% in 2020.

The IEA Net‐Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario shows that three quarters of emissions reductions between 2020 and 2025 take place in the power sector, where emissions decline by 4.4% per year on average. This requires coal-fired electricity generation needs to fall by more than 6% a year, partially replaced by gas, which grows by around 5% a year.

This means the growth of coal energy usage means that the world will be moving further from the Net Zero 2050 emissions target.

China electricity demand in 2021 is averaging 15% higher than the same month in 2019. In 2021, China will be back to 70% of its electricity coming from coal. China had briefly dipped to 60% electricity from coal in 2020.

Dry weather is reducing hydroelectricity generation in China, Europe, USA and Brazil.

SOURCES – IEA Electricity Market Report July 2021
Written by Brian Wang,