One thing we have learnt this week – renewables to dominate by 2040

electricity production data 2019Renewables to dominate electricity production by 2040.  That’s the main conclusion in the BP energy outlook 2019.  The graph shows the data provided by BP and replotted by me.  There a number of things to say about this.  Firstly some of this data is historical so in the graph renewables share of the data has doubled 2015-18.  Second, BP persistently underestimate the growth of renewables, so its likely that this latest projection will be an underestimate.  As you you will see from the graph this figure does not include hydro.  Whether big hydro especially in the tropics can be regarded as sustainable is a moat point.  It shows gas staying pretty level, with a huge drop in the use of coal.  Lastly this does include a big increase in electric vehicles, although not as high as other people would see the penetration although much of this is seen as shared rather than owned vehicles.  When this is taken into account the % of journeys is much higher.

Other things to note from the report apart from the renewables to dominate part.  The report talks about the circular economy as far as I am aware for the first time.  It also (surprise surprise) sees oil as the still dominate form of energy but sees much of the demand going forward as coming from need for oil to make plastics.  It warns a ban on single use plastics without an alternative will increase carbon emissions and energy demand.  Precisely why this is not made entirely clear, but one reason given is an increase in food waste.  So some encouragement here we need this transition and we need it fast.  The last thing to say is of course there are lots of other areas to decarbonise apart from electricity.

Neil

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