Oil and gas giant BP says renewable energy will rapidly become the world’s main source of power within the next 20 years, as the planet shifts towards a lower carbon future.
“The pace at which renewable energy penetrates the global energy system is faster than for any fuel in history,” BP said in its latest annual Energy Outlook report.
BP is predicting a future that is powered more by renewables than coal or gas.
The report looked at a number of scenarios for changing energy demand globally, and said in all forecasts there will be a massive boom in demand and more generation will be needed to supply it.
“The increase in energy over and above the evolving transition scenario is roughly the equivalent of China’s entire energy consumption in 2017,” it said. BP said in all scenarios wind and solar will play an increasing role in keeping the lights on. But oil and gas will remain key fuels in the energy mix, with consumtion peaking in the 2030s before demand falls off.
While coal demand will flatten in BP’s least energy transformation aggressive scenario, the use of coal will see a sharp contraction in all other scenarios.
BP says renewables will become the world’s primary energy source by 2040, but coal will still retain a large role in the energy mix.
“The world of energy is changing. Renewables and natural gas together account for the great majority of growth in primary energy,”
BP chief economist Spencer Dale said. “In our evolving transition scenario, 85 per cent of new energy is lower carbon.” BP chief executive Bob Dudley said the transition to renewables is inevitable. “This outlook again brings into sharp focus just how fast the world’s energy systems are changing and how the dual challenge of more energy with fewer emissions is framing the future. Meeting this challenge will undoubtedly require many forms of energy to play a role,” Mr Dudley said.