The International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2020 (IEA WEO) is a timely reminder of the disruption to energy supply and demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the burden on emerging economies, and the need to redouble efforts to reduce emissions using all available technologies.
As the world recovers from COVID-19 and decarbonises over the longer term, Australia’s world-leading minerals companies will play a central role in providing the resources needed to grow sustainably in coming decades.
And despite a future in flux, Australia’s prospects are positive because of our world-class minerals, reliability as a supplier and current and future investment by industry and government in the research, development and deployment of emission lowering technologies.
The IEA WEO is positive for Australia in highlighting the increasing importance of energy investments in the Asia-Pacific region. In both major scenarios in the report, almost half of the world’s energy investments between 2020 and 2040 will be made in the region.
This is forecast to include significant network investment, which will require increased Australian resource development in minerals and metals from aluminium to zinc.
Investment in all minerals needs to continue to provide the materials for worldwide decarbonisation such as nickel, lithium, rare earths and high performance metals.
While the report forecasts world coal power generation to either steadily or dramatically reduce depending on the scenario adopted, coal power generation in the Asia-Pacific is projected to rise in the Stated Policies Scenario by more than 8 per cent between now and 2040.
This reflects both the policy direction and natural demand for coal fired power in the region and underlines the importance of the development of low emissions technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
The IEA WEO also highlights the comparative advantage of major resources producers such as Australia who are well prepared to lead on CCUS, critical minerals and hydrogen production into the future.