Mar 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Coronavirus response should promote clean energy — IEA

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The International Energy Agency is urging governments to weave policies that support climate-friendly energy into their economic responses to the novel coronavirus.

What they're saying: "These stimulus packages offer an excellent opportunity to ensure that the essential task of building a secure and sustainable energy future doesn’t get lost amid the flurry of immediate priorities," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.

Why it matters: Birol's LinkedIn post Saturday morning warns that COVID-19 and the associated market tumult will "distract the attention of policy makers, business leaders and investors away from clean energy transitions."

The big picture: He says boosting deployment of technologies including wind, solar, and battery storage provides "twin benefits" of stimulating economies and moving to cleaner energy.

Threat level: His new post comes amid signs that COVID-19 is creating headwinds for these sectors as supply chains are disrupted, economies slow and policymakers are consumed with the response.

  • The research firm BloombergNEF this week said additions of new solar power generating capacity are slated for fall this year for the first time in decades, among other effects.

Go deeper: The impact of coronavirus spans the energy universe

Go deeper

10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The novel coronavirus, upending our world as we know it, is also changing how we consume energy and address climate change.

Driving the news: The various impacts are occurring both now and into the future. Most changes don’t bode well for acting on climate change and transitioning to cleaner energy.

The renewable energy industry wants a piece of the coronavirus stimulus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Renewable energy industries and some Democrats have begun efforts to ensure the economic response to the coronavirus outbreak helps a sector that's suddenly facing strong headwinds.

The state of play: The industry has already had discussions with lawmakers' offices about how to proceed, Axios has learned.

Study: Data centers use less energy than expected

Cables and LED lights in a computer server in Berlin. Photo: Thomas Koehler/Getty Images

Overall energy use from data centers has increased slightly over the past decade, but improved efficiency means that they're using less energy per operation, according to a new analysis.

Why it matters: Ultra-efficient server farms have kept energy consumption from growing as fast as data use. But with 5G and AI on the horizon, new innovations will be needed to prevent an explosion in energy use.