Nuclear Power Set to Shatter Global Records by 2025, IEA Forecasts

"2025 Set to Witness Record-Breaking Surge in Nuclear Power Generation, Boosting Global Carbon Emission Reductions, Reports IEA"

Nuclear power generation is expected to reach a historic peak in 2025, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This surge in nuclear power is a result of increased investments in reactors, which are essential for the transition to a low-carbon global economy. The rise in nuclear power aligns with the growing demand for electricity, driven by the adoption of electric vehicles, heat pumps, and low-carbon industrial processes. The IEA also predicts that renewable energy will surpass coal as the primary power source in the early months of next year. These projections highlight the collective impact of expanding nuclear power and the rapid growth of renewable sources.

The IEA’s report states that nuclear power plant output is projected to increase by around 3% in both the current year and the next, reaching 2,915TWh and surpassing the previous peak of 2,809TWh in 2021. The report also anticipates an additional 1.5% growth in 2026, driven by the commissioning of new reactors in China and India. The rapid growth of renewable sources, such as wind and solar, is expected to contribute significantly, with renewables accounting for about a third of global electricity generation by early next year. This shift towards low-emission sources will lead to a record low share of global supply delivered by fossil fuel generators, at 54% in 2026.

Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA, emphasized the significance of these trends in reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. He attributed the positive developments to the momentum behind renewables, particularly the increasingly cost-effective solar energy, and the resurgence of nuclear power. Birol stated, “While more progress is needed, and fast, these are very promising trends.”

The IEA’s projections also indicate a global expansion of nuclear power, with an additional 29 GW of new nuclear capacity expected between 2024 and 2026. More than half of this capacity will be in China and India. The report highlights the recovery of the French nuclear sector and anticipated restarts in Japan, further contributing to the growth of global nuclear generation. The IEA’s updated Net Zero Roadmap indicates a more than 2x increase in nuclear energy by 2050, complementing the deployment of renewables and reducing the strain on critical mineral supplies.

While some European countries are considering phasing out nuclear energy, several emerging economies and advanced nations are actively planning to introduce or expand nuclear energy generation. Currently, the growth in nuclear power generation is concentrated in Asia. During COP28, more than 20 countries signed a collective declaration aiming to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050, which would involve adding 740 GW of nuclear capacity to the existing stock of 370 GW. However, achieving this objective would require an additional 210 GW, even with the successful realization of all planned and proposed projects.

China and India are leading the way in nuclear growth, representing more than half of the anticipated 29 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity. China has experienced rapid growth in nuclear technology, increasing its generation share from 5% in 2014 to 16%. The country aims to further increase its installed nuclear capacity from approximately 56 GW to 70 GW by 2025. The IEA also notes that China and Russia are expanding their influence in the nuclear sector, providing technology for 70% of the reactors currently under construction.

Renewed interest in nuclear energy is also observed in Europe and the Americas, although nuclear projects in China are experiencing fewer delays compared to those in other regions. Overall, nuclear power generation is set to play a crucial role in the global transition to a low-carbon economy, complementing the growth of renewables. The IEA’s projections highlight the integral position of nuclear power in shaping the future energy landscape.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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