Wind turbine blades photographed at a facility in China’s Hebei province July 15, 2022. The world’s second-biggest economy is a major force in technologies crucial to the planned energy transition.
vcg | Visual China Group | Getty Images
According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, the world is moving into a “new era of clean technology manufacturing” that could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year by the end of the decade, while creating millions of jobs.
The IEA report Energy Technology Perspectives 2023 – which referred to “the dawn of a new industrial age” – published Thursday morning – looked at the manufacture of technologies such as wind turbines, heat pumps, batteries for electric vehicles, solar panels and electrolysers for hydrogen.
In a statement accompanying its report, the IEA said its analysis showed that “the global market for key mass-produced clean energy technologies” will be worth about $650 billion a year by 2030, a more than three-fold increase from today Level.
However, the Paris-based organization’s forecast has to be qualified as it expects countries around the world to fully implement their energy and climate pledges – a significant task that requires both political will and financial strength.
“Associated clean energy production jobs would more than double from 6 million today to nearly 14 million by 2030,” the IEA said, “and rapid industrial and employment growth is expected to continue over the coming decades as the transition progresses. “
Notwithstanding, the IEA noted that there are potential headwinds related to supply chains, a long-standing issue highlighted by rising geopolitical tensions and the coronavirus pandemic in recent years.
The report highlighted “potentially risky levels of concentration in clean energy supply chains – both for the manufacture of technologies and for the materials on which they depend”.
China dominates both the production and trade of “most clean energy technologies”.
Regarding mass-produced technologies such as batteries, solar panels, wind, heat pumps and electrolysers, the IEA said the top three producing countries “represent at least 70% of the production capacity for each technology — with China dominating all of them.”
“Now much of the mining of critical minerals is concentrated in a small number of countries,” she added.
“For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo produces over 70% of the world’s cobalt, and only three countries – Australia, Chile and China – account for more than 90% of the world’s lithium production.”
Commenting on the report, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, said the planet “would benefit from more diversified clean technology supply chains”.
“As we saw with Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, if you are overly dependent on one company, one country or one trade route, you risk paying a heavy price if disruptions occur,” he added.
This isn’t the first time Birol has spoken about the geopolitical dimension of the world’s shift towards a future focused on lower-carbon technologies.
In October, Birol told CNBC that the main reason for investing in clean energy is energy security rather than climate change.
Name-checking the U.S. anti-inflation bill and other packages in Europe, Japan and China, Birol said a “substantial increase in clean energy investment, for example [a] 50% increase” could be seen.
“Today it’s about $1.3 trillion and it’s going to go up to about $2 trillion,” Birol told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum.
“And as a result, we will see clean energy, electric cars, solar, hydrogen and nuclear power slowly but surely replacing fossil fuels.”
“And why do governments do this? Because of climate change, because of the greenness of the issues? Not at all. The main reason here is energy security.”
Birol went on to describe energy security as “the biggest driver for renewable energy.” He also recognized the importance of other factors, including those related to climate.
“Energy security concerns, climate change commitments … industrial policy — the coming together of these three is a very powerful combination,” he said.
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/12/the-world-is-at-the-dawn-of-a-new-industrial-age-iea-says-.html The world “is at the dawn of a new industrial age,” says the IEA