The IEA, within the framework of the World Energy Outlook, has been measuring fossil-fuel subsidies in a systematic and regular fashion for more than a decade (see online database). Its analysis is aimed at demonstrating the impact of fossil-fuel subsidy removal for energy markets, climate change and government budgets. Since 2009 the IEA has provided ongoing input to the G-20 in support of their commitment to “rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption”. Many countries are now pursuing reforms, but steep economic, political and social hurdles will need to be overcome to realise lasting gains.
Modern energy services are crucial to human well-being and to a country’s economic development. Access to modern energy is essential for the provision of clean water, sanitation and healthcare and for the provision of reliable and efficient lighting, heating, cooking, mechanical power, transport and telecommunications services. It is an alarming fact that today billions of people lack access to the most basic energy services: 1.2 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.7 billion people rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking, which causes harmful indoor air pollution. These people are mainly in either developing Asia or sub-Saharan Africa, and in rural areas.
Energy and water are inextricably linked. Water is ubiquitous in energy production and energy is vital to the provision of water. Each resource faces rising demands and constraints in many regions as a consequence of economic and population growth and climate change, which will amplify their vulnerability to one another. For the energy sector, constraints on water can challenge the reliability of existing operations as well as the viability of future projects. The use of water for energy production can also have critical impacts on freshwater resources, affecting both their availability (the amount downstream) and quality (their physical and chemical properties). The IEA assessed the water-energy nexus for the first time in the World Energy Outlook 2012, reviewing water requirements for different energy sources (see primary energy and electricity generation) and estimating by scenario, energy source and region. In subsequent years, the WEO has addressed various facets of the nexus: the WEO Special Report Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map in 2013 looked at energy infrastructure and climate resiliency; while World Energy Outlook 2015 assessed the impact of water scarcity on coal-fired power plants in India and China as well as water requirements of unconventional gas production. This year, the World Energy Outlook 2016 will once again have a dedicated chapter covering the energy-water nexus.
Download the following factsheets related to the World Energy Outlook 2015:
Factsheets from preceding editions are also available.