Azara Blog: IEA publishes its latest energy report

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Date published: 2006/11/07

The BBC says:

The world could be dependent on "dirty, insecure and expensive" energy by 2030, an influential report has warned.

Current trends showed that demand for power was set to grow by 53% by 2030, the International Energy Agency said.

But if governments delivered on their promises to push cleaner and more efficient supplies, demand could be cut by about 10%, the agency suggested.
The International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2006 also echoed the findings of a recent UK report that said the benefits of cutting emissions outweighed the costs of climate change.
The WEO champions the role of nuclear power, saying it could make a "major contribution to reducing dependence on imported gas and curbing CO2 emissions".

It forecasts that the total global generation capacity of nuclear power plants could increase from 368 gigawatts in 2005 to 519 gigawatts in 2030.

The additional nuclear power plants would also have the advantage of being less vulnerable to fuel price changes than coal or gas-fired generation, helping to enhance the security of electricity supplies.

However, it said that governments would have to convince the private sector that the initial investment of about $2bn-3.5bn (£1-1.8bn) per reactor would be a wise move.

The report also projected that biofuels were set to play an increasing role in road transport, providing up to 7% of the total consumption in 2030.

The supposed "cut" in the "alternative policy" scenario of 10% is not in fact a cut relative to energy consumption today, it is relative to the "business as usual" prediction of a 53% increase by 2030, so in fact represents a 38% increase by 2030. It is too bad the BBC used such misleading language, because it makes the report sound much more dramatic than it is. Even with this supposed 10% "cut", most fuel in 2030 would still be "dirty, insecure and expensive". (Most people would take nuclear power, in particular, to be all three of those things.) And a 10% reduction could easily happen just because of a world depression, or a disease which kills hundreds of millions of people. And although one might trust the IEA on energy outlook over the next five or ten years, beyond that it is just playing games, like everyone else who cares to predict that far into the future.

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