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 Brazil's National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL), the installed wind capacity in Brazil has just reached the 20 GW milestone, from 17.1 GW at the end of 2020. More than 750 wind parks are operational in Brazil, and 90% of the installed wind capacity is located in the Northeast region.
According to the Ministry of Power, India has reduced its peak power deficit from 16.6% in financial year (FY) 2007-2008 to 0.4% in FY 2020-2021 (-16.2% points). Indeed, the country's power peak deficit fell from 18 GW in 2007-2008 to 0.8 GW in 2020-2021. Since 2008, India has installed over 240 GW of power capacity, including 139 GW of coal (58% of the total), 37 GW of solar (16%), and 28 GW of wind (12%). Over the same period, the country's electrification rate increased from 72% to 95% (+23% points).
According to Statistics Norway, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country declined by 3.5% in 2020 to 49.3 MtCO2eq (-1.8 MtCO2eq) thanks to a reduction in emissions from oil and gas extraction (-5%, i.e. -722 ktCO2eq), in air traffic (-32%, i.e. -356 ktCO2eq), and in road transport (-4%, i.e. -346 ktCO2eq, due to travel restriction, home office and the increasing share of electric cars and rechargeable hybrid vehicles). Overall, Norway’s GHG emissions in 2020 stood 4.2% below their 1990 levels.
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.