Gas-fired power is “mainstay” of energy systems: IEA
The Paris-based International Energy Agency said October 13 that gas-powered plants will be the “mainstay” of electricity security because it can backstop renewable output.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) published its world energy outlook for 2021. The agency in its report outlined scenarios for a net-zero emissions future. If there are no changes in current global policy, oil demand by 2050 remains above 100mn barrels per day, but would only be around 24mn b/d by then if “the world single-mindedly pursues a 1.5 °C stabilisation objective.”
The comparable range for natural gas is between 5.1 trillion m3 in a no-change scenario to 1.75 trillion m3 per year in the net-zero outlook. Nevertheless, the IEA estimated that natural gas will continue to play a role in the global economy.
“Gas power plants are also a mainstay of today’s electricity security because of their ability to flexibly ramp up and down in response to changes in variable renewable output or peaks in demand,” the report read.
But there is a vexing problem in the IEA’s outlook. For a net-zero future, the agency estimated that declines in oil and gas demand are “sufficiently steep that no new field developments are required.”
That, however, does not mean that limiting investments in new oil and gas fields will necessarily accelerate the energy transition. Instead, a “strong policy” push is needed to achieve “deep reductions” in global emissions.
Commenting on the future energy mix in a report last week, the IEA called on more governments to introduce hydrogen strategies and roadmaps for development. Only 17 governments have released strategies so far, although a further 20 have said they are working on them.
Governments also need to step up investments in hydrogen production and storage, the IEA said, noting that states and private investors had so far come up with only a quarter of the $1.2 trillion needed to develop and deploy hydrogen by 2030. And greater policy support is needed, it said.
In the world energy outlook, however, the IEA said the future energy mix would require a wide range of assets.
“The energy system of the future consists of a much more complex web of interactions between solid, liquid and gaseous fuels, and electricity,” it said.