Commitments to Net Zero Announced and Energy Sector
- There has been a rapid increase in the past year in the number of governments committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero. Net Zero commitments to date cover about 70% of global GDP and CO2 emissions. However, fewer than one-quarter of the Net Zero commitments announced are enshrined in national law, and only a few have been reinforced by specific measures or policies to fully implement them and meet deadlines.
- The policy scenario outlined (STEPS) considers only specific policies that have been enacted or announced by governments. Annual CO2 emissions related to energy and industrial processes are expected to increase from 34 Gt in 2020 to 36 Gt in 2030 and remain at this level until 2050. If emissions continue on this trajectory, with similar changes in non-energy-related GHG emissions, this would lead to a temperature increase of about 2.7°C by 2100 (with a 50% probability). Renewable energy is expected to provide nearly 55% of global electricity production by 2050 (up from 29% in 2020), but the transition to clean energy in other sectors lags behind. Global coal use decreases by 15% from 2020 to 2050; oil use in 2050 is about 15% higher than in 2020, and natural gas use increases by nearly 50%.
- In the announced commitment scenario (APC), it is assumed that all national Net Zero commitments are fully implemented and on schedule, whether they are currently reinforced by specific policies or not. CO2 emissions from global energy-related and industrial processes decrease to 30 Gt by 2030 and 22 Gt by 2050. Extending this trajectory, with similar actions for non-energy-related GHG emissions, would result in a temperature increase of about 2.1°C by 2100 (with a 50% probability). Global electricity production doubles to over 50,000 TWh by 2050. The share of renewable energy in electricity generation increases to nearly 70% by 2050. Oil demand does not return to 2019 peak levels and decreases by about 10% from 2020 to 80 million barrels per day in 2050. Coal use decreases by 50% to 2,600 million tons in 2050, while natural gas use increases by 10% to 4,350 bcm in 2025 and remains at that level until 2050.
- Efficiency, electrification, and replacing coal with low-emission sources in electricity production play a central role in achieving emissions goals in APC, especially in the period until 2030. The relative contribution of nuclear, hydro, bioenergy, and other CCUS technologies varies among countries depending on their circumstances.
- The differences in trends between APC and STEPS highlight the variation that current Net Zero commitments can create, emphasizing the need for specific policies and short-term plans that align with long-term Net Zero commitments. However, APC also clearly underscores that current Net Zero commitments, even if fully implemented, still fall short of the necessary level to achieve global Net Zero emissions by 2050.
November 2021 will witness the most important Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 26) since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. As COP 26 approaches, an increasing number of countries have announced long-term targets to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the coming decades. On March 31, 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) held the Net Zero Summit to compile a growing list of commitments from countries and companies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, while focusing on the necessary actions to turn those commitments into reality.
Achieving those goals will be very challenging. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a significant shock to the global economy, resulting in a 5.8% reduction in CO2 emissions in 2020. However, our monthly data shows that CO2 emissions related to global energy began to increase again in December 2020, and we estimate that they will increase by around 33 gigaton carbon dioxide (Gt CO2) in 2021, only about 1.2% lower than the 2019 level (IEA, 2021). Sustainable economic recovery packages provide the only opportunity to turn 2019 into a global emissions peak year, but the evidence to date suggests that emissions will rebound in parallel with new economic growth, at least in the near future (IEA, 2020a).
Recent analyses by the IEA have examined the technologies and policies necessary for countries and regions to achieve a net-zero emissions energy system. The World Energy Outlook 2020 looked at what is needed by 2030 to put the world on a pathway to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050 in the context of the pandemic recovery (IEA, 2020b). The Faster Innovation case in the Energy Technology Perspectives 2020 explored whether global Net Zero emissions by 2050 could be achieved solely through accelerated development and deployment of energy technologies: it showed that, compared to basic trends, nearly half of emissions savings by 2050 depend on technologies not currently on the market (IEA, 2020c).
This special report, prepared at the request of COP 26 President of the United Kingdom, combines deep insights and lessons learned from both reports to create a comprehensive and detailed roadmap to achieve Net Zero CO2 emissions related to energy and industrial processes globally by 2050. It assesses the costs of achieving this goal, the potential impacts on jobs and the economy, as well as broader global implications. It also highlights key milestones in technology, infrastructure, investment, and policy needed for the journey to 2050.
II. Emission Reduction Goals and Net Zero Commitments
1. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
Under the Paris Agreement, parties are required to submit their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCC and implement policies to achieve their stated objectives. This process is dynamic, with parties updating their NDCs every five years in a progressively ambitious manner. The first round of NDCs, submitted by 191 countries, covered over 90% of global CO2 emissions from energy and industrial processes. The initial NDCs included some conditional targets based on international support for finance, technology, and other implementation means.
As of April 23, 2021, 80 countries have submitted new or updated NDCs to the UNFCCC, representing just over 40% of global CO2 emissions (Figure 1). Many updated NDCs feature more stringent targets than the initial round, or they extend the coverage to larger sectors or broader greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, 27 countries and the European Union have communicated long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies to the UNFCCC, as required by the Paris Agreement. Some of these strategies incorporate Net Zero commitments.
Figure 1: Number of countries with NDCs, long-term strategies, Net Zero commitments, and their 2020 global CO2 emissions share
About 40% of countries that ratified the Paris Agreement have updated their NDCs, but Net Zero commitments encompass approximately 70% of global CO2 emissions
2. Net Zero Emission Commitments
There has been a rapid increase in the number of governments committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero (Figure 2). In the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to "achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century." The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C emphasized the importance of achieving global Net Zero CO2 emissions by mid-century or earlier to avoid the worst impacts of climate change (IPCC, 2018).
Net Zero emission commitments have been announced by national governments, subnational legal entities, and a significant number of corporate organizations. As of April 23, 2021, 44 countries and the European Union have committed to meeting Net Zero Emissions targets, collectively representing approximately 70% of global CO2 emissions and GDP (Figure 3). Among these, 10 countries have made Net Zero commitments legally binding, 8 countries are proposing to make them legally binding, and the rest have included their commitments in official policy documents.
Figure 2: Number of countries with Net Zero commitments and the share of global CO2 emissions covered
Figure 3: Coverage extent of nationally announced Net Zero commitments
Unlike some short-term commitments within NDCs, very few Net Zero commitments are supported by detailed policies and clear implementation pathways. Net Zero commitments also vary significantly in terms of timeframes and scope. Key differences include:
- Greenhouse gas coverage: Most commitments include all greenhouse gas emissions, but some have exclusions or different provisions for certain types of emissions. For example, New Zealand's Net Zero commitment excludes biogenic methane emissions with separate reduction targets.
- Sectoral boundaries: Some commitments exclude emissions from specific sectors or activities. For example, the Netherlands aims to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions only in its electricity sector (as part of an overall goal to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 95%), and several countries, including France, Portugal, and Sweden, exclude international aviation and shipping.
- Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) utilization: Commitments have different approaches to accounting for CDR within a nation's sovereign territory. CDR options include natural carbon sinks like forests and land, as well as technological solutions like direct air capture or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. For example, Uruguay has stated that natural carbon sinks will be used to help the country reach Net Zero Emissions, while Switzerland plans to use CDR technologies to balance a portion of its remaining emissions by 2050.
- International mitigation transfers: Some commitments allow emissions reductions to occur outside a country's borders to be counted toward Net Zero goals, such as through carbon credits, while others do not. For instance, Norway permits international transfer capabilities, whereas France explicitly excludes them. Some countries, like Sweden, allow such transfers but specify limits on their use.
- Timeframes: The majority of commitments, including 35% of global CO2 emissions in 2020, target achieving Net Zero Emissions by 2050, but Finland aims for this goal by 2035, Austria and Iceland by 2040, and Sweden by 2045. In contrast, China and Ukraine have set targets beyond 2050.
III. Prospects for Emissions and Energy in STEPS
The primary policy scenario presented by the IEA (STEPS) illustrates the consequences of existing and proposed policies on the energy sector. It is based on the latest information regarding national energy and climate plans, as well as policies reinforcing them. It takes into account all policies supported by strong legal measures or enforcement, including NDCs that countries submitted under the Paris Agreement until September 2020 and energy components of recovery and economic stimulus packages. To date, very few Net Zero Emissions commitments have been supported by detailed policies, implementation plans, or interim targets; therefore, most Net Zero Emissions commitments are not included in STEPS.
1. CO2 Emissions
Global CO2 emissions in STEPS only result in a marginal overall improvement in recent trends. Transitioning to renewable energy leads to a peak in emissions in the power sector, but the reduction levels across all sectors are still not sufficient to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050. Annual CO2 emissions rebound quickly after the drop caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, increasing from 34 Gt in 2020 to 36 Gt in 2030 and remaining at this level until 2050 (Figure 5). If emissions continue on a similar trajectory after 2050 with corresponding changes in other greenhouse gas sources, the global average surface temperature is projected to increase by approximately 2.7°C by 2100 (with a 50% probability).
There is a significant difference in emissions prospects between advanced economies and, on the other hand, emerging markets and developing economies. In advanced economies, despite a slight rebound in the early 2020s, CO2 emissions still decrease by about one-third between 2020 and 2050, thanks to policy actions and technological advancements in energy efficiency and the shift towards cleaner fuels. In emerging markets and developing economies, energy demand continues to grow rapidly due to population growth, rapid economic growth, urbanization, and infrastructure expansion. These impacts far outweigh improvements in energy efficiency and the deployment of clean technologies, leading to a nearly 20% increase in CO2 emissions by the mid-2040s, before a slight decrease by 2050.
Figure 5: CO2 emissions related to energy and industrial processes by region and sector in STEPS
2. Total Energy Supply, Final Consumption, and Electricity Generation
The projected trends in CO2 emissions in STEPS are a result of changes in energy use and the combination of fuels and technologies. The total energy supply (TES) worldwide increases by just over 30% from 2020 to 2050 in STEPS (Figure 6). Without the expected annual average reduction of 2.2% in energy intensity, meaning energy use per unit of GDP, TES in 2050 would be about 85% higher. In advanced economies, energy intensity decreases by about 5% by 2050, even as economic activity increases by 75% during this period. In emerging markets and developing economies, energy use increases by 50% by 2050, reflecting a tripling of economic output from 2020 to 2050. Despite GDP and energy intensity growth in emerging markets and developing economies, 750 million people still lack access to electricity by 2050, with over 95% of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 1.5 billion people continue to rely on traditional bioenergy for cooking.
The global fuel mix undergoes significant changes from 2020 to 2050. Coal use, which peaked in 2014, decreases by approximately 15%. After a sharp decline in 2020 due to the pandemic, oil demand quickly recovers, returning to the 98 million barrels per day (mb/d) level of 2019 by 2023 and stabilizing at around 104 mb/d shortly after 2030. Natural gas increases from 3,900 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2020 to 4,600 bcm in 2030 and 5,700 bcm in 2050. Nuclear energy grows by 15% from 2020 to 2030, primarily reflecting expansion in China.
Figure 6: Total energy supply and CO2 emissions intensity in STEPS
Total final consumption increases in all sectors in STEPS, with electricity and natural gas leading the way (Figure 7). All growth occurs in emerging markets and developing economies. The most significant change in energy use occurs in the electricity sector (Figure 8). Global electricity demand increases by 80% from 2020 to 2050, nearly doubling the overall growth rate of energy consumption. Over 85% of global electricity demand growth comes from emerging markets and developing economies. Coal continues to play a crucial role in electricity generation in these economies until 2050, despite significant growth in renewable energy: in advanced economies, the use of coal for electricity production decreases sharply.
Figure 7: Total final consumption by sector and fuel in STEPS
Figure 8: Electricity generation by fuel and the share of coal in STEPS
3. Emissions from Existing Assets
The energy sector contains a large number of long-lived and capital-intensive assets. Urban infrastructure, pipelines, oil refineries, coal-fired power plants, heavy industrial facilities, large buildings, and major hydroelectric facilities can have economic and technical lifetimes of more than 50 years. If today's energy infrastructure were operated until the end of their typical lifetimes in a manner similar to the past, it is estimated that this would result in the accumulation of CO2 emissions related to energy and industrial processes from 2020 to 2050 of just under 650 gigatons (Gt) of CO2. This figure is more than 30% higher than the remaining CO2 budget consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C with a 50% probability.
The electricity sector contributes to over 50% of the total emissions from existing assets, with 40% of the total emissions coming from coal-fired power plants. The industry is the next largest sector, with steel, cement, chemicals, and other heavy industries accounting for about 30% of the total emissions from existing assets. The long lifetimes of production facilities in these subsectors (typically 30-40 years for blast furnaces or cement kilns) and the relatively young age of global capital stock explain their significant contributions. The transport sector accounts for just over 10% of emissions from existing assets, and the buildings sector contributes less than 5%. The lifetimes of vehicles and equipment in transportation and construction are generally much shorter than in the case of electricity and industry – for example, passenger cars are typically assumed to have a lifetime of about 17 years – but the associated infrastructure networks, such as roads, electricity grids, and gas grids, have very long lifetimes.
There are significant regional differences in emissions intensity from existing assets (Figure 9). Advanced economies tend to have much longer-lived capital stocks than emerging markets and developing economies, particularly in the electricity sector, and their existing assets will be retired earlier. For example, the average age of coal-fired power plants in China is 13 years and 16 years in the rest of Asia, compared to around 35 years in Europe and 40 years in the United States (IEA, 2020e).
Figure 9: Emissions from existing infrastructure by sector and region
IV. Announced Pledges Case
The Announced Pledges Case (APC) assumes that all national Net Zero Emissions commitments are fully implemented and on schedule. Therefore, it goes beyond the policy scenario presented in STEPS. The purpose of the APC is to examine the full implementation of national networks and see how far they take the world towards Net Zero Emissions and to consider the scale of energy sector transformation that the pathway requires.
The way these commitments are implemented in the APC is significant for the energy system. A Net Zero commitment for all greenhouse gas emissions related to energy implies that CO2 emissions from the energy sector need to reach zero. For example, a country's Net Zero plan may foresee a certain amount of non-energy-related emissions to be offset by absorbing greenhouse gas emissions from forestry activities or land use or by using bioenergy or direct air capture (DAC) with CCUS to offset emissions directly. The exact nature of Net Zero commitments cannot be known for sure, but the design of the APC, particularly with regard to the details of the energy system pathway, has been informed by pathways that some countries have developed to support non-binding Net Zero pledges. Assumptions for non-policy factors, including population and economic growth, are the same as in STEPS.
1. CO2 Emissions
In the APC, emissions experience a minor rebound by 2023, although this rebound is much smaller than the immediate post-global financial crisis increase in 2008-09. Emissions never reach their previous peak of 36 Gt CO2. Global CO2 emissions reduce by about 10% to 30 Gt by 2030 and down to 22 Gt by 2050. This is significantly lower than the 35% reduction from 2020 levels and 14 Gt CO2 lower than in STEPS (Figure 10). If emissions continue on this trajectory beyond 2050, with similar emissions changes in other non-energy-related greenhouse gases, the global average surface temperature is projected to increase by about 2.1°C by 2100 (with a 50% probability).
Figure 10: Global CO2 emissions related to energy and industry by scenario and regional reduction levels, 2010-2050
Current Net Zero commitments achieved so far will reduce global emissions to 22 Gt CO2 by 2050, a significant reduction from current policies but still far from Net Zero Emissions.
Therefore, the current Net Zero commitments implemented to date have made a significant difference to the current trajectory of CO2 emissions. However, similarly, current Net Zero commitments do not achieve the necessary level to reach global Net Zero Emissions by 2050. This underscores the importance of specific policies and plans to fully implement long-term Net Zero commitments. It also highlights the value of more countries making (and implementing) ambitious Net Zero commitments: the more countries that do so and the more ambitious those commitments are, the closer the gap will be to what is needed to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050.
The largest reduction in CO2 emissions in the APC is in the electricity sector, with global emissions decreasing by nearly 60% from 2020 to 2050. This happens despite a near doubling of electricity demand as more end-use energy is electrified, especially in transportation and buildings (Figure 11). This contrasts with a reduction of less than 15% in STEPS.
Figure 11: Global CO2 emissions by sector in STEPS and APC
Announced Net Zero emissions commitments will reduce emissions by 60% in the electricity sector, 40% in buildings, 25% in industry, and just over 10% in transport by 2050.
The transport and industry sectors see relatively modest reductions in CO2 emissions by 2050 in the APC, with energy demand growth in non-Net Zero-committed regions significantly offsetting emission reduction efforts in other sectors. Emissions from the buildings sector decrease by about 40% from 2020 to 2050, compared to about 5% in STEPS. The use of fossil fuels in buildings is primarily for providing heating, and countries with relatively high commitments account for a relatively high share of global heating system requirements.
Even in regions with Net Zero commitments, there are still residual emissions by 2050, primarily in the industry and transport sectors. This reflects the scarcity of commercially available solutions to eliminate all emissions from heavy-duty trucks, aviation, shipping, and heavy industry.
2. Total Energy Supply
Global total energy supply increases by more than 15% from 2020 to 2050 in the APC, compared to one-third in STEPS (Figure 12). The average energy intensity decreases by about 2.6% per year to 2050 compared to 2.2% in STEPS. Energy demand increases significantly in emerging markets and developing economies, where economic and population growth rates are the fastest and where there are fewer Net Zero commitments, far exceeding the reduction in energy demand in countries with Net Zero commitments.
Figure 12: Total energy supply by source in STEPS and APC
Announced Net Zero commitments will increase renewables in the APC from 12% of total energy supply in 2020 to 35% by 2050, primarily at the expense of coal and oil.
The increase in global energy supply in the APC is led by renewables, which elevate their share in the energy mix from 12% of total energy supply in 2020 to 35% by 2050, primarily at the expense of coal and oil. Solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind in the electricity sector contribute to about 50% of the growth in renewable energy supply, while bioenergy accounts for about 30%. Bioenergy sees a doubling in industry, a tripling in electricity production, and a quadrupling in transportation, playing a crucial role in reducing emissions from heat supply and carbon removal from the atmosphere when coupled with CCUS. Nuclear maintains its share in the energy mix, with output increasing by a quarter by 2030 (compared to a 15% increase in STEPS), driven by extending the lifetimes of existing plants and new reactors in some countries.
Global coal use in the APC declines significantly faster than in STEPS. It decreases from 5,250 million tonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce) in 2020 to 4,000 Mtce in 2030 and 2,600 Mtce in 2050 (compared to 4,300 Mtce in 2050 in STEPS). Most of this decline is due to reduced coal-fired power generation in countries with Net Zero commitments, as plants are repurposed, retrofitted, or decommissioned. In advanced economies, coal-fired power plants that do not decline are typically phased out over 10-15 years. China's coal consumption for electricity generation falls by 85% from 2020 to 2050 on the path to carbon neutrality by 2060. This reduction is much greater than offsetting the continued growth of coal in countries without Net Zero commitments. On a global scale, coal use in industry decreases by 25% from 2020 to 2050, compared to a 5% decline in STEPS.
Demand for oil experiences a minor recovery in the early 2020s but never returns to its historic peak in 2019. It declines to 90 million barrels per day in the early 2030s and down to 80 million barrels per day by 2050, about 25 million barrels per day lower than in STEPS, thanks to a strong push towards electrification of transportation and a shift to biofuels and hydrogen, especially in regions with commitments. Natural gas demand increases from around 3,900 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2020 to about 4,350 bcm by 2025 but generally remains unchanged until 2050 (continuing to increase to about 5,700 bcm in STEPS).
3. Tổng mức tiêu thụ cuối cùng
Việc sử dụng năng lượng toàn cầu tiếp tục tăng trong tất cả các lĩnh vực sử dụng cuối chính trong APC, mặc dù chậm hơn đáng kể so với STEPS (Hình 13). Tổng mức tiêu dùng cuối cùng (TFC) tăng khoảng 20% trong giai đoạn 2020-50, so với mức tăng 35% trên toàn cầu trong STEPS. Các biện pháp cải thiện hiệu quả sử dụng năng lượng đóng vai trò chính trong APC trong việc giảm mức tăng trưởng nhu cầu ở các quốc gia có cam kết Net Zero. Nếu không có những lợi ích hiệu quả đó, tăng trưởng nhu cầu điện sẽ khiến năng lượng tái tạo khó thay thế nhiên liệu hóa thạch trong sản xuất điện hơn nhiều. Nhu cầu năng lượng giảm nhiều nhất so với STEPS là trong giao thông vận tải, nhờ sự chuyển đổi nhanh chóng sang xe điện (EV), loại xe có hiệu suất năng lượng cao gấp ba lần so với các phương tiện sử dụng động cơ đốt trong thông thường.
Hình 13 Tổng mức tiêu thụ cuối cùng trong APC
Các cam kết về Net Zero được công bố sẽ dẫn đến sự chuyển đổi từ nhiên liệu hóa thạch trên toàn cầu sang điện, năng lượng tái tạo và hydro. Thị phần điện tăng từ 20% lên 30% vào năm 2050
Hỗn hợp nhiên liệu trong việc sử dụng năng lượng cuối cùng thay đổi đáng kể trong APC. Đến năm 2050, điện là nhiên liệu lớn nhất được sử dụng trong tất cả các lĩnh vực ngoại trừ giao thông vận tải, nơi dầu vẫn chiếm ưu thế. Sự tồn tại lâu dài của dầu trong vận tải xuất phát một phần từ mức độ tiếp tục sử dụng dầu ở các quốc gia không có cam kết về Net Zero, và một phần từ khó khăn trong việc điện khí hóa các bộ phận quan trọng của ngành vận tải, đặc biệt là vận tải đường bộ và hàng không. Tuy nhiên, điện đã xâm nhập vào lĩnh vực giao thông vận tải và sự tăng trưởng nhanh chóng trong việc sử dụng xe điện khiến việc sử dụng dầu giảm sau năm 2030, với xe điện chiếm khoảng 35% doanh số bán ô tô chở khách toàn cầu vào năm 2030 và gần 50% vào năm 2050 ở APC (so với khoảng 25% trong STEPS vào năm 2050). Quá trình điện khí hóa trong lĩnh vực tòa nhà ở APC cũng nhanh hơn nhiều so với STEPS.
Việc sử dụng trực tiếp năng lượng tái tạo sẽ mở rộng trong tất cả các lĩnh vực sử dụng cuối cùng trên toàn cầu cho đến năm 2050. Năng lượng sinh học hiện đại chiếm phần lớn trong sự tăng trưởng này, chủ yếu thông qua việc trộn khí metan sinh học vào mạng lưới khí đốt tự nhiên và nhiên liệu sinh học lỏng trong giao thông vận tải. Điều này xảy ra chủ yếu ở các khu vực có cam kết ròng bằng 0. Nhiên liệu hydro và nhiên liệu gốc hydro đóng vai trò lớn hơn trong APC so với STEPS, đạt gần 15 exajoule (EJ) vào năm 2050, mặc dù chúng vẫn chỉ chiếm 3% tổng lượng tiêu thụ cuối cùng trên toàn thế giới vào năm 2050. Giao thông vận tải chiếm hơn hai -một phần ba tổng lượng tiêu thụ hydro vào năm 2050. Song song đó, việc sản xuất hydro tại chỗ trong ngành công nghiệp và lĩnh vực lọc dầu dần dần chuyển sang các công nghệ carbon thấp.
4. Phát điện
Sản lượng điện toàn cầu tăng gần gấp đôi trong ba thập kỷ tiếp theo ở APC, tăng từ khoảng 26.800 terawatt giờ (TWh) vào năm 2020 lên hơn 50.000 TWh vào năm 2050, cao hơn khoảng 4.000 TWh so với STEPS. Các nguồn năng lượng phát thải thấp mang lại tất cả sự gia tăng. Tỷ lệ năng lượng tái tạo trong sản xuất điện tăng từ 29% vào năm 2020 lên gần 70% vào năm 2050, so với khoảng 55% trong STEPS, khi quang điện mặt trời và gió chạy đua trước tất cả các nguồn phát điện khác (Hình 14). Đến năm 2050, năng lượng mặt trời và gió cùng nhau chiếm gần một nửa nguồn cung cấp điện. Thủy điện cũng tiếp tục mở rộng, nổi lên là nguồn năng lượng lớn thứ ba trong cơ cấu điện năng vào năm 2050. Năng lượng hạt nhân cũng tăng đều đặn, duy trì thị phần toàn cầu khoảng 10%, dẫn đầu là sự gia tăng ở Trung Quốc. Việc sử dụng khí đốt tự nhiên trong sản xuất điện tăng nhẹ vào giữa những năm 2020 trước khi bắt đầu giảm trở lại, trong khi tỷ trọng sản xuất điện của than giảm từ khoảng 35% vào năm 2020 xuống dưới 10% vào năm 2050. Vào thời điểm đó, 20% sản lượng điện đốt than còn lại đầu ra đến từ các nhà máy được trang bị CCUS.
Hydro và amoniac bắt đầu trở thành nhiên liệu đầu vào cho sản xuất điện vào khoảng năm 2030, được sử dụng chủ yếu kết hợp với khí tự nhiên trong tua bin khí và với than trong các nhà máy điện đốt than. Điều này giúp kéo dài tuổi thọ của các tài sản hiện có, góp phần đảm bảo tính phù hợp của hệ thống điện và giảm tổng chi phí chuyển đổi ngành điện ở nhiều quốc gia. Tổng công suất pin cũng tăng đáng kể, đạt 1.600 gigawatt (GW) vào năm 2050, nhiều hơn 70% so với STEPS.
Hình 14 Sản lượng điện toàn cầu theo nguồn trong APC
Năng lượng tái tạo đạt tầm cao mới trong APC, tăng từ mức dưới 30% nguồn cung cấp điện vào năm 2020 lên gần 70% vào năm 2050, trong khi sản lượng điện đốt than giảm dần
Lưu ý: Năng lượng tái tạo khác = địa nhiệt, nhiệt mặt trời và biển.