Carbon Intensity of Electric Power in the World and in Russia

6 june 2019

Carbon intensity of electric power around the world has gone down but electricity production still accounts for about 42% of global CO2 emissions, write Analytical Center experts in their May energy bulletin. In their opinion, carbon intensity is a key indicator in the process of finding solutions to the climate change problem.

The global trend towards the electrification of the economy is increasing the carbon load on the power industry, which, according to the International Energy Agency, accounted for 42% of global CO2 emissions in 2017, the authors of the bulletin note. The exert say the reason for that is that the electrofication of the economy often results in carbon being transferred between industries. For example, electric vehicles have zero CO2 emissions but they need to be recharged constantly. As a result, we're seeing less CO2 emissions in transport as more and more electric vehicles are used but CO2 emissions by power plants are going up as they need to produce more energy, the authors write.

The experts analyzed the competition in the natural gas sector and concluded that global demand for natural gas is growing primarily as a result of its reduced effect on the environment compared to other types of fossil fuels (such as coal). The EU is the world's largest importer of natural gas, meeting more than 70% of its demand through imports. In 2018, Russian natural gas made up over 44% of the EU's total natural gas imports.

The authors say, citing the Ministry of Energy of Russia, that as demand for clean energy goes up around the world as a result of climate and environmental factors, Russia may get new opportunities in the global natural gas market.  Our country can supply up to 100-120 million tonnes of LNG in the global market by 2035, which is 5-6 times greater than in 2018.

The main consumers of LNG are Asia Pacific and Europe and they are interested in developing natural gas delivery infrastructure. However, whereas in Asia Pacific the interest in expanding LNG terminals is dictated by rising demand, in the EU the main motivation is energy security which is to be achieved by ensuring there is competition among suppliers.

For more see the bulletin on carbon intensity of electric power in the world and in Russia.

Other energy bulletins can be found here.