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Energy Watch Group Questions International Energy Agency’s Credibility

The Energy Watch Group has called on the International Energy Agency to release more realistic energy projects, calling into question the group’s credibility.

In the wake of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) report, published last week, the Energy Watch Group (EWG) — an international network of scientists and parliamentarians — has not only criticized the IEA’s energy projections, but has subsequently called into question their overall credibility as an energy analyst.

“The WEO 2015 shows one cannot take the IEA seriously as a credible energy analyst any longer,” said Hans-Josef Fell, President of the Energy Watch Group and former Member of the German Parliament. “Despite its own warnings of limited investments in the oil business, the IEA predicts a further increase in the oil production until 2030. Meanwhile, the actually occurring rapid development of renewable energy is downplayed. This way the IEA increasingly turns into a cause of the global warming.”

In fact, according to a recent Energy Watch Group study published in September, and conducted in conjunction with Lappeenranta University of Technology, the IEA “has consistently undermined [the] potential of solar and wind energy in the last decade.”

“The IEA has been holding back the global energy transition for years,” said Hans-Josef Fell at the time. “The false WEO predictions lead to high investments in fossil and nuclear sector, hinder global development of renewable energy and undermine the global fight against climate change.”

The EWG’s latest focus reiterates its belief that the IEA is a roadblock to renewable energy uptake, stating that the World Energy Outlook 2015 “once again underestimates sharply the potential of solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy and emphasizes the conventional energy sources.” Specifically, the IEA has apparently maintained a linear growth for both solar PV and wind power, despite what the EWG describes as “exponential growth” for the two technologies over the last decades. Annual market growth for both wind and solar has been relatively impressive for years now, 10% since 2000 for wind and much higher for solar PV, with analyses by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and IHS both predicting 10% or higher annual market growth for solar PV over the next few years. This, compared to the IEA’s ‘New Policy Scenario’ which actually predicts wind and solar PV markets to shrink — 20% and 40% lower, respectively, than current levels.

Conversely, the IEA’s WEO projections for the growth of nuclear are doubtful at best, and too optimistic for oil.

“These projections are risky and irresponsible,” said Werner Zittel, senior energy expert at Ludwig Bölkow Systemtechnik. “We are now standing at a crossroads: either high oil prices disrupt the economy, or lower prices disrupt oil companies. It is a toss-up whether the transition to a low-carbon energy supply will go smoothly or will cause major upheavals. Even more so it must be the duty of the IEA to provide realistic signposts rather than limit itself to the business-as-usual thinking.”

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