Bioenergy is predicted to lead the growth of all renewables in the next five years, a new report by the International Energy Agency shows. But its impact could be even higher without current barriers to deployment.
Modern bioenergy is expected to have the biggest growth in renewable resources between 2018 and 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its latest market forecast on Monday.
The agency added this would underscore its critical role in ensuring a more secure and sustainable global energy system.
"Modern bioenergy is the overlooked giant in the renewable energy field," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. "Its share in the world's total renewables is about 50 percent today — in other words as much as hydro, wind, solar and all other renewables combined."
Consumption on the rise
IEA researchers were confident that renewables would continue their expansion in the next five years, covering 40 percent of global energy consumption growth.
Renewables were predicted to be used more widely in the power sector, accounting for one-third of total electricity generation by 2023.
"Because of weaker policy support and additional barriers to deployment, the use of renewables expands far more slowly in the transport and heat sectors," the report noted.
It also pointed out that China was leading global growth in renewable energy as a result of policies to decarbonize all sectors and reduce harmful local air pollution. The Asian nation is set to become the largest consumer of renewable energy, surpassing the European Union by 2023.
According to the report, Brazil stands out for boasting the highest share of renewables in its energy mix, with almost 45 percent of total energy consumption being covered by renewables, mostly bioenergy and hydropower.
Wind, meanwhile, is forecast to expand by 60 percent over the next five years. Spurred by technological progress and cost cuts, offshore wind capacity is set to triple, with growth moving beyond Europe to Asia and North America.