Global nuclear generation to break records in 2025

Nuclear power generation is projected to achieve record levels in 2025 as an increasing number of countries invest in reactors to support the transition to a low-carbon global economy. Simultaneously, renewable energy is anticipated to surpass coal as a primary power source in the coming year, according to data presented in a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday.

The report indicates that China, India, Korea, and Europe are expected to introduce new reactors, with several reactors in Japan predicted to resume operation, and a rise in French output. The global demand for electricity is set to rise, largely driven by the shift towards a low-carbon economy, where electric vehicles, heat pumps, and various low-carbon industrial processes rely on electricity instead of traditional oil and gas sources.

The report also highlights the substantial growth in renewable energy, which is anticipated to fully meet the additional electricity demands through wind, solar, and other clean energy sources. Renewables are projected to constitute around one-third of total global electricity generation by early next year.

Dave Jones, the insights director at the energy think tank Ember, sees these findings as a potential turning point, signaling the potential decline of the fossil fuel era. He emphasizes the need for swift and substantial cuts in carbon dioxide emissions to stay within the limited carbon budget.

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, views these developments positively in the context of addressing climate breakdown but stresses the need for intensified efforts. He acknowledges the encouraging trends in the growth of renewables and nuclear power, which are on track to meet the increasing global electricity demand over the next three years.

The IEA’s annual analysis, “Electricity 2024,” published on Wednesday, indicates a 2.2% increase in global electricity demand in 2023, with a projected further increase of around 3.4% from 2024 to 2026. While this growth is significant, the IEA warns of uneven power capacity development worldwide, citing stagnant per capita power use in Africa despite an overall increase in electricity supply.

The report underscores the importance of addressing electricity access issues in Africa, despite the region’s vast potential for solar and wind generation. Barriers such as a high cost of capital for renewable energy projects need to be overcome through collaboration between the international community and African governments to facilitate urgent progress in electricity access.

The IEA’s annual analysis, “Electricity 2024,” published on Wednesday, indicates a 2.2% increase in global electricity demand in 2023, with a projected further increase of around 3.4% from 2024 to 2026. While this growth is significant, the IEA warns of uneven power capacity development worldwide, citing stagnant per capita power use in Africa despite an overall increase in electricity supply.

The report underscores the importance of addressing electricity access issues in Africa, despite the region’s vast potential for solar and wind generation. Barriers such as a high cost of capital for renewable energy projects need to be overcome through collaboration between the international community and African governments to facilitate urgent progress in electricity access.

Africa possesses some of the world’s most significant potential for solar and wind generation, along with abundant minerals essential for renewable energy components. However, the high cost of capital for renewable energy projects poses a major obstacle. Many governments are urging international institutions, such as the World Bank, to adapt their practices and provide support to make renewable energy development more feasible.

The IEA emphasizes that solving the electricity access challenge in Africa is crucial for economic and social development. The reliance on polluting energy sources, such as biomass and paraffin, by those in poverty is a hindrance to progress. Additionally, the lack of readily available electricity hampers education opportunities for children and poses health risks during blackouts in hospitals.

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, stresses the need for the international community to collaborate with African governments to expedite progress in electricity access. Despite the challenges, Africa’s potential for renewable energy generation remains a hopeful prospect. Adjustments in funding practices and increased support can unlock this potential, contributing not only to sustainable energy but also to broader socio-economic development in the region.

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