The International Energy Agency (IEA) has just released the World Energy Outlook for 2017 (WEO-2017). It identifies major trends in the energy sector through 2016. Growth in solar PV capacity was larger than for any other form of generation. Since 2010, costs of new solar PV have come down by 70%, wind by 25% and battery costs by 40%.
The United States has become the biggest oil and gas producer in the world driven by of shale gas and tight oil. But in 2016, spending by the world’s consumers on electricity reached the same level as their spending on oil products.
China, the world’s largest energy consumer, is shifting to a services-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix. Energy demand growth slowed from 8 % per year from 2000 to 2012 to less than 2% per year since 2012. China’s energy policy is now focused on cleaner energy sources driven primarily by severe air pollution in Chinese cities. It is estimated that almost 2 million premature deaths each year can be ascribed to poor air quality.