More than 50% of electricity could be produced from renewables in Asia by 2050 with the rise in the region’s energy consumption, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report.
Growing more than any other region in the world, Asia is expected to account for half of the world’s energy consumption by 2050, the EIA said in its International Energy Outlook 2020 released Wednesday.
The Administration explained that between 2019 and 2050, electricity generation will more than double in the region, driven by economic growth and rising incomes. Asian countries choosing generating technology and fuel that will potentially have significant effects on global energy trade to meet the projected growth in electricity generation will also spur this increase.
Natural gas prices and renewable energy capital costs drive the electricity generation mix in Asia in ways that rely on market conditions, policies and resources in the region, according to the report.
“Although changing natural gas prices and renewable costs generally produce proportional shifts in the electricity sector’s fuel mix, regionally-specific fuel dynamics and resource availability are also important factors,” it said.
-Solar predominant source of electricity by 2050 in China
Differing natural gas prices and renewable energy capital costs in Asia can shift the fuel mix for generating electricity in the region either further toward fossil fuels or toward renewables.
In China, the world's largest energy-consuming country, electricity is an increasingly large portion of the country’s total energy consumption, and according to the report will rise from 47% of the total in 2019 to 59% in 2050.
Given that the country pledged to reach peak carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030, China’s energy policies are constraining growth in coal-fired production.
According to the report, decreases in natural gas prices will produce the largest changes in the generation mix in China. It added that “solar could become the predominant source of electricity generation by 2050 if renewable costs are low and natural gas prices are high or at the reference level.”
In other non-OECD Asian countries, the EIA said the main dynamic driving the region’s generation mix is a three-way competition between coal, natural gas, and renewable technologies.
Without a unitary emissions policy in this region, natural gas and renewables are only economically competitive with coal generation when their respective fuel prices and capital costs are low.
However, the report maintained that this region could grow economically attractive hydro resources, unlike China, to help balance unpredictable generation produced from wind and solar technologies.
By Sibel Morrow