The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned the world not to repeat past mistakes by relying too much on a small group of suppliers in the coming “new industrial age” of clean technology mass manufacturing.
The dangers of reliance on single source supplies have been starkly exposed by the current situation in Europe with Russian gas, said IEA executive director Fatih Birol, as he urged global economies not to “put all their eggs in one basket”.
“As we have seen with Europe’s reliance on Russian gas, when you depend too much on one company, one country or one trade route – you risk paying a heavy price if there is disruption.”
With China dominating manufacturing capacity in key green technologies such as solar and EV batteries, and mining for critical minerals restricted to a few nations – Democratic Republic of Congo for most cobalt, for example – Birol said diversification should be a priority to avoid “choke points” in the energy transition.
Birol spoke as the IEA said the world is on the brink of a clean technology mass manufacturing boom that could be worth $650bn a year by 2030.
The industrial bonanza – three times the value of today’s clean energy manufacturing sector – is in reach if nations around the world follow through with climate pledges made so far, said the Paris-based body as it launched its latest Energy Technology Perspectives 2023 report.
The manufacturing boom would bring with it a doubling of clean energy manufacturing employment to almost 14 million by the end of the decade, it added.
“The IEA highlighted almost two years ago that a new global energy economy was emerging rapidly. Today, it has become a central pillar of economic strategy and every country needs to identify how it can benefit from the opportunities and navigate the challenges. We’re talking about new clean energy technology markets worth hundreds of billions of dollars as well as millions of new jobs,” said Birol.
The IEA chief added: “The encouraging news is the global project pipeline for clean energy technology manufacturing is large and growing. If everything announced as of today gets built, the investment flowing into manufacturing clean energy technologies would provide two-thirds of what is needed in a pathway to net zero emissions.
“The current momentum is moving us closer to meeting our international energy and climate goals – and there is almost certainly more to come.”