COVID-19: Electricity Sector to Play Key Role in Economic Recovery

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) has reiterated the critical position electricity occupies in the attainment of sustainable economic recovery from the covid-19 onslaught on economies.

In its ‘World Energy Outlook 2020, special edition on covid and the future of energy’, the international energy agency said the electricity sector will play a key role in supporting economic recovery.

Adding that electricity will also play increasingly important long-term role in providing the energy that the world needs.

The IEA noted that 2020 has been a tumultuous year for the global energy system. The report which focuses on the pivotal period of the next 10 years, explored different pathways out of the crisis and provides the latest IEA analysis of the pandemic’s impact. 

It said, “The Covid-19 crisis has caused more disruption than any other event in recent history, leaving scars that will last for years to come. But whether this upheaval ultimately helps or hinders efforts to accelerate clean energy transitions and reach international energy and climate goals will depend on how governments respond to today’s challenges. 

“The Covid-19 crisis has underlined the importance of a reliable, affordable and secure electricity supply that is able to accommodate sudden changes in behaviour and economic activity while continuing to support vital health and information services.

“The electricity sector will play a key role in supporting economic recovery, and an increasingly important long-term role in providing the energy that the world needs. Over time it looks set to evolve into a system with lower CO2 emissions, a stronger infrastructure base and enhanced flexibility.”

It noted that in Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS), global electricity demand recovers and surpasses pre-Covid-19 levels in 2021. “Electricity demand growth in India outpaces other regions to 2030, after which growth is most pronounced in Southeast Asia and Africa. 

“China sees the largest absolute increase in demand, accounting for over 40% of the global growth to 2030. Electricity demand growth globally outpaces all other fuels. Electricity meets 21% of global final energy consumption by 2030.  

In advanced economies, electricity demand recovers to pre-crisis levels by 2023 and then rises by 0.8% per year through to 2030, driven by the electrification of mobility and heat.

“In developing market and emerging economies, rising levels of ownership of household appliances and air conditioners, together with increasing consumption of goods and services, underpin strong growth, exceeding pre-crisis levels by 2021.

“A handful of countries including Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Ethiopia and Rwanda are on track to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, but in the STEPS – 660 million people still lack access in 2030 – including 33% of all people in Africa,” the reported stated.

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