New energy efficiency improvement in the USA in 2020, twice the 2000-2019 pace
Significant slowdown in energy intensity improvement in 2020 (-0.4%, vs. -1.5%/year over 2000-2019)
Global energy intensity (total energy consumption per unit of GDP) dipped by 0.4% only in 2020, i.e. much slower than its historical trend (-1.5%/year on average between 2000 and 2019), widening again the gap with the 3.5%/year decrease required to achieve the 2°C scenario. This slowdown is mainly due to the economic recession in 2020, which had a negative impact on economic activity, but did not reduce energy consumption to the same extent (the economic downturn affected all sectors, such as services, not only the most energy-intensive). Energy intensity levels and trends differ widely across world regions, reflecting differences in economic structure and energy efficiency achievements. Since 2000, the USA and the EU have cut their energy intensity by around 2%/year thanks to energy efficiency efforts (especially in the power sector) and to a lesser extent to a structural shift toward less energy-intensive industry branches and the growing share of services in the GDP. In 2020, the improvement was much slower in the EU (-0.6%), whereas it accelerated in the United States (-4.2%). China’s energy intensity remained stable in 2020 (+0.4%, compared to a 2.9%/year improvement over the 2000-2019 period). In 2020, its energy intensity stood 43% below its 2000 level, still 27% above the world average. The high energy intensity in the CIS, the Middle East, China and some Asian countries (Taiwan, South Korea) is explained by the dominance of energy-intensive industries, commodity exporting-based economies and low energy prices that do not encourage energy efficiency. In 2020, energy intensity increased in Asia (especially in India and China, improving in other countries), in Australia, in the Middle East, in Africa (strong growth in Nigeria and South Africa, contrasting with improvements in Algeria and Egypt) and in Latin America to a lesser extent (increase in most countries except Mexico). On the contrary, energy intensity improved in Canada and Russia, though remaining much higher than the global average.
According to Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency, the country's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 3.6% in 2020 to 58 MtCO2eq. The decrease in emissions is reflected in most sectors with the exception of increases in residential, agriculture and public services. In the energy sector, GHG emissions fell by 7.9% (-0.74 MtCO2eq), as peat-fired power generation halved and renewable power generation increased noticeably (+15% from wind), covering 42% of the Irish power mix. Residential emissions grew by 9% (+0.59 MtCO2eq), as a result of colder temperatures, historic low oil prices (impacting heating choices), and home working. Emissions from transports fell by nearly 16% (-1.9 MtCO2eq) due to transport restrictions. Overall, Ireland's GHG emissions are still only 7% below 2005 level. The country committed under an EU agreement known as the Effort Sharing Decision to cut GHG emissions by 20% between 2005 and 2020.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), 6.1 GW of offshore wind capacity was installed in 2020 (down from 6.2 GW in 2019), including 3 GW in China, 1.5 GW in the Netherlands, and 0.7 GW in Belgium. More than 35 GW of offshore wind capacity is currently operational, with 29% of the total in the UK, 28% in China and 22% in Germany.
South Africa’s total greenhouse gas emissions excluding FOLU (forestry and other land use) increased by 14% between 2000 and 2017 to 513 MtCO2eq, according to the country’s 7th National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Report. The energy sector is the largest contributor to emissions excluding FOLU (80%) and is responsible for 97% of the increase over 2000-2017. Energy industries were responsible for 61% of emissions from the energy sector in 2017. This was followed by transport (13%), other sectors (9%) and manufacturing industries and construction (7%).
According to the Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation (TEIAŞ), installed wind capacity in Turkey reached the 10 GW threshold in early August 2021. Most of the capacity is located in the Izmir province (1.7 GW), followed by Balıkesir (1,300 MW), Çanakkale (850 MW), Manisa (750 MW), and Istanbul (420 MW). Wind represented 10% of the installed capacity connected to the transmission network (10,010 MW out of 98,800 MW) and over half (51.9 GW) was considered "clean" electricity. In the first half of 2021, wind power accounted for around 9% of the power generation, replacing nearly US$1bn in gas imports.