The resurgence in oil and gas production from the United States, deep declines in the cost of renewables and growing electrification are changing the face of the global energy system and upending traditional ways of meeting energy demand, according to the World Energy Outlook 2017. A cleaner and more diversified energy mix in China is another major driver of this transformation.
WEO-2017, the International Energy Agency's flagship publication, finds that over the next two decades the global energy system is being reshaped by four major forces: the United States is set to become the undisputed global oil and gas leader; renewables are being deployed rapidly thanks to falling costs; the share of electricity in the energy mix is growing; and China's new economic strategy takes it on a cleaner growth mode, with implications for global energy markets.
Solar PV is set to lead capacity additions, pushed by deployment in China and India, meanwhile in the European Union, wind becomes the leading source of electricity soon after 2030.
"Solar is forging ahead in global power markets as it becomes the cheapest source of electricity generation in many places, including China and India," said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director. "Electric vehicles (EVs) are in the fast lane as a result of government support and declining battery costs but it is far too early to write the obituary of oil, as growth for trucks, aviation, petrochemicals, shipping and aviation keep pushing demand higher. The US becomes the undisputed leader for oil and gas production for decades, which represents a major upheaval for international market dynamics."
These themes - as well as the future role of oil and gas in the energy mix, how clean-energy technologies are deploying, and the need for more investment in CCUS - were among the key topics discussed by the world's energy leaders at the IEA's 2017 Ministerial Meeting in Paris last week.
This year, WEO-2017 includes a special focus on China, where economic and energy policy changes underway will have a profound impact on the country's energy mix, and continue to shape global trends. A new phase in the country's development results in an economy that is less reliant on heavy industry and coal.
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