Modern Bioenergy Leads the Growth of All Renewable Energy by 2023

Modern bioenergy will have the largest growth in renewable resources between 2018 and 2023, underscoring its key role in building a robust renewable portfolio and ensuring a more secure and sustainable energy system, according to the latest market forecast of the International Energy Agency.

Renewables will continue to expand over the next five years, covering 40% of global energy consumption growth, according to IEA's Renewables 2018 forecast and market analysis report. Its use continues to increase more rapidly in the electricity sector, and will account for almost a third of the world's total electricity generation by 2023. Because of weaker policies and additional barriers to deployment, renewable energy use expands much more slowly in the transport and heating sectors.

While the growth of photovoltaic and wind energy should continue in the electricity sector, bioenergy continues to be the largest source of renewable energy because of its widespread use in heat and transport, sectors in which other renewable energies play a very important role. smaller.

"Modern bioenergy is the neglected giant of the renewable energy field," said Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. "Its share of global total renewable energy consumption is around 50% today, in other words, as much as hydropower, wind, solar and all other renewable energy combined. We hope that modern bioenergy will continue to lead the field and have great prospects for further growth. But the right policies and rigorous sustainability regulations will be essential to fulfill their full potential. "

The focus on bioenergy is part of the IEA's "blind spots" of the energy system - critical issues for the evolution of the energy sector, but receiving less attention than they deserve - such as the impact of air conditioners on demand for electricity or increasing impact of petrochemicals on global oil demand. Assuming vigorous sustainability measures are in place, the report identifies additional untapped potential for "green" bioenergy and diversifies energy use in the industrial and transportation sectors.

China is leading global growth in renewable energy as a result of policies to decarbonise all sectors and reduce local air pollution and become the largest consumer of renewable energy, surpassing the European Union by 2023. Of the world's largest energy consumers, Brazil has the largest share of renewable energies - almost 45% of total final energy consumption in 2023, driven by the significant contribution of bioenergy and hydropower.

Meanwhile, photovoltaic solar energy dominates the expansion of renewable electricity capacity. Renewable capacity additions of 178 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 broke another record, accounting for more than two-thirds of global net electricity capacity growth for the first time. Photovoltaic solar capacity expanded further (97 GW), more than half of which was in China. Meanwhile, onshore wind additions declined overall for the second consecutive year, and hydro power growth continued to slow.

Photovoltaic solar capacity is expected to increase by almost 600 GW - more than all other renewable energy technologies combined, or up to twice Japan's total capacity, reaching 1 terawatt (TW) by the end of the forecast period. Despite recent policy changes, China remains the absolute photovoltaic leader, holding almost 40% of global installed photovoltaic capacity in 2023. The United States remains the second largest growing market for photovoltaic solar energy, followed by India, whose capacity quadruple.

Wind remains the second largest contributor to renewable capacity growth, while hydroelectricity remains the largest source of renewable electricity by 2023. Similar to last year's forecast, wind capacity is expected to grow by 60%. Meanwhile, boosted by technological progress and significant cost reductions, offshore wind capacity triples, with growth going beyond Europe to Asia and North America.

Even with renewable energy technologies becoming increasingly competitive, appropriate policies and market design are essential. In an accelerated case, which assumes more favorable government measures, the expansion of renewable energy in electricity and transport may be 25% higher.

The untapped potential of bioenergy in the cement, sugar and ethanol industries is also significant. The growth of bioenergy in the combined industry, transport and electricity sectors could be as considerable as that of other renewable energies in the electricity sector. A significant proportion of this potential depends on waste and residues that offer low life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigate concerns about land use change. In addition, the use of these features can improve waste management and air quality.