Sustainable Recovery – IEA World Energy Outlook Special Report

The International Energy Agency recently published a report, entitled “Sustainable Recovery“, offering a post-pandemic recovery plan for the energy sector.

The report underlines the crucial role of hydropower and nuclear power in the energy mix. According to the IEA Report, these are the two largest sources of low-carbon generation, together providing 70% of all low-carbon electricity.

Focusing on nuclear power, it needs to be maintained as the world seeks to overcome the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, with many facilities ageing or facing financial challenges because of lower revenues, heightening the risk of early retirements and limiting the prospects for new investment.

The report warns that early retirements of nuclear power plants also threaten thousands of jobs, concentrated in Europe and the US, while the loss of nuclear capacity will hinder climate mitigation activities.

The document also stresses the importance of new nuclear technologies, like the small modular reactors (SMRs), which could help provide flexibility in countries with large electricity grids or be used in countries or regions with small electricity grids that would not be appropriate for large baseload nuclear power plants.

Indeed, the above-mentioned difficulties in financing the construction of large-scale nuclear reactors are driving interest in SMRs.

The IEA Report is open-access and downloadable here.