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Modern economies depend on the reliable and affordable delivery of electricity. At the same time, the need to address climate change is driving a dramatic transformation of power systems globally.

Electricity Jpg

Key findings

Power sector CO2 emissions in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2040


Power sector CO2 emissions continue to rise

Power sector emissions increased 2.6% in 2017 and a further 2.5% in 2018, following three years of decline. In contrast, emissions in the Sustainable Development Scenario fall on average 4.1% per year to 2030. The Sustainable Development Scenario also sees emission intensity of electricity falling by 3.4% annually. In 2018, emissions intensity fell by only 1.3% as a result of generation from low-carbon technologies rising 6%, offset by a 2.6% increase in non-abated coal.

Electricity demand continues to grow

Rising electricity demand was one of the key reasons why global CO2 emissions from the power sector reached a record high in 2018, yet the commercial availability of a diverse suite of low emissions generation technologies also puts electricity at the vanguard of efforts to combat climate change and pollution. In the Stated Policies Scenario, global electricity demand grows at 2.1% per year to 2040, twice the rate of primary energy demand. In the Sustainable Development Scenario electricity plays an even larger role, reaching 31% of final energy consumption.