Renewable Energy Surges, Set to Eclipse Coal Power Globally by 2025

IEA predicts that renewable energy will surpass coal power by 2025, accounting for over one-third of the world’s total electricity generation.

In a significant stride towards a cleaner and more sustainable future, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that renewable energy will surpass coal power by 2025, accounting for over one-third of the world’s total electricity generation. The IEA’s recently released Electricity 2024 report outlines a promising trajectory, projecting that renewables and nuclear energy combined will contribute to nearly half of the world’s power generation by 2026.

IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol, hailed the progress, stating, “It’s encouraging that the rapid growth of renewables and a steady expansion of nuclear power are together on course to match all the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years.”

The report highlights the pivotal role of renewables, particularly the increasingly cost-effective solar energy, and the resurgence of nuclear power, expected to reach historic highs by 2025.

At the heart of this shift is the global commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuels. This commitment was underscored at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, where negotiators agreed on a roadmap for the transition and a pledge to triple renewables capacity by 2030. The changing electricity mix is anticipated to drive down emissions from the power sector, currently the world’s largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

In 2023, renewables and nuclear accounted for less than 40% of the world’s power generation. However, by early 2025, renewable energy is forecasted to overtake coal, marking a significant milestone in the global energy landscape. The transition to cleaner energy sources aligns with the United Nations’ goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the preindustrial era.

The IEA report also addresses the increasing demand for electricity, driven by factors such as the electrification of homes and businesses, the rise of electric vehicles, and industrial growth. Despite a 2.2% global increase in electricity demand in 2023 (slightly lower than the previous year), the agency projects a significant acceleration, with a yearly average growth of 3.4% between 2024 and 2026.

Of notable significance is the role of data centers in driving global electricity demand. The IEA forecasts a potential doubling of electricity use from data centers between 2022 and 2026, reaching a demand equivalent to that of Japan. The agency emphasizes the need for updated regulations and technological improvements to moderate the surge in energy consumption from these data centers.

While acknowledging the promising trends, the IEA also emphasizes the urgency for more progress in the transition to clean energy.

The positive momentum behind renewables, coupled with the comeback of nuclear power, provides a foundation for a sustainable energy future. As the world collectively works towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels, these developments offer hope for a greener and more environmentally friendly power landscape.

The IEA’s latest report signals a turning point in the global energy sector, with renewable energy poised to outpace coal power by 2025 and renewables plus nuclear accounting for nearly half of the world’s power generation by 2026. This transition aligns with global commitments to combat climate change and represents a crucial step towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.