Global emissions are set for unprecedented fall this year as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report in Bloomberg Green.
As less oil, gas and electricity is consumed due to the slowdown in industrial activity across the globe, and renewables take up a larger share of the energy market, global emissions will fall by 8% (2.6 billion metric tons) in 2020 – the largest fall in history.
“The energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before,” Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) executive director, said in a statement released from the organisation’s headquarters in Paris on Thursday.
Even though overall energy demand has decreased by as much as 6% this year, renewables in many countries get first priority to feed electricity into the grid.
While fossil-fuel generators shut down to prevent a system overload, there is nothing to stop solar, wind and hydro power producers selling all their output.
Unseasonably warm, yet windy, weather throughout April has also been favourable for solar and wind farm owners and the dominance of green energy in the overall market is only set to continue with low-carbon sources set to be responsible for 40% of global electricity generation.
It’s not all a breeze for renewables
Renewables are still facing challenges of their own, however. In the wake of Covid-19, renewable energy has been rocked by global supply chain disruption and heightened part costs.
Around 11% of the world’s wind turbines were shut this week because of the virus, according to Bloomberg, while work on constructing new wind farms has been delayed by restrictions on the movement of workers and regulatory processes.
With the big oil players all having significantly invested in renewable energy, an article in Power Technology says they are expected to respond to the record slump in oil prices by cost-cutting and shifting focus away from their clean energy commitments in the short term.
All things considered, this could lead to a slowdown in new renewable energy projects coming online this year.
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