IEA: Renewables to rival coal by 2035

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The report, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), projects that a steady increase in hydropower, coupled with the rapid expansion of wind and solar power, will fortify the position of renewables in the global energy mix. Indeed, according to the IEA, within the next two decades, renewables will account for nearly one-third of total electricity output.

By 2015, they will grow to become second only to coal as the world’s largest source of power generation; and, by 2035, they will rival coal as the primary forms of global electricity. While the rapid increase in renewable energy will be buoyed by falling technology costs, rising fossil-fuel prices and carbon pricing, it will largely be contingent on continuing subsidies.

Rising from US$88 billion globally in 2011, renewable subsidies will approach $240 billion in 2035. However, the IEA warns that subsidy measures to support new renewable energy projects must be adjusted over time, as capacity increases and as the costs of renewable technologies fall, to avoid placing excessive burdens on governments and consumers.

Several scenarios

The report outlines four scenarios for future energy usage, ranging from a sequence of events based on contemporary conditions to an aspirational vision. Among them are the:

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