International Energy Agency: World Energy Outlook 2017


The International Energy Agency recently published its annual World Energy Outlook report describing “A world in transformation” defined by four shifts currently happening in the global energy system. The report presents several projections through to 2040 based on different policy assumptions, in order to give policy makers the tools to decide what path to follow.

The four shifts can be summarized as follows. First the rapid deployment and decreasing costs of clean energy technologies. Second the increasing electrification and third the shift to a more services-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix in China, which will have implications for the whole world. Last but not least, the report mentions the US as the leading shale gas and tight oil producer in the world.

“Solar is forging ahead in global power markets as it becomes the cheapest source of electricity generation in many places, including China and India,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director. “Electric vehicles (EVs) are in the fast lane as a result of government support and declining battery costs but it is far too early to write the obituary of oil, as growth for trucks, petrochemicals, shipping and aviation keep pushing demand higher. The US becomes the undisputed leader for oil and gas production for decades, which represents a major upheaval for international market dynamics.”

WEO-2017 isn’writing off oil yet. Global oil demand continues to grow to 2040, even though it’s decreasing steadily. And while carbon emissions have flattened in recent years, the report finds that global energy-related CO2 emissions increase slightly by 2040, but at a slower pace than in last year’s projections. To avoid severe impacts of climate change, more measures are needed. This year, the report introduces the Sustainable Development Scenario, which offers an integrated way to achieve a range of goals: climate stabilization, cleaner air and universal access to modern energy.

You can find the detailed findings of the report here.