Renewable energy will displace petroleum as the most-used global energy source in the late 2040s, but oil demand is not expected to peak before 2050, the United States Energy Information Administration, yesterday, in its latest long-term international outlook, said.
EIA predicts that renewables – including wind, solar and hydroelectric – will become the largest source of energy by 2050, surpassing oil. But they still predict fossil fuel use to grow, making net-zero emissions unlikely if not impossible to meet.
The growth projection raises concerns for economies dependent on oil and presents a challenge to governments worldwide, if they are to meet repeated warnings that the global economy must be net-zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.Energy production accounts for more than 70 percent of emissions, according to the non-profit Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
The growth reference case assumes Brent oil prices at $100/b in 2050, in 2018 dollars, and annual global economic growth of 3 per cent.“0.6 per cent annual growth in petroleum and other liquids, 0.4 per cent growth in coal, and 1.1 per cent annual growth in natural gas consumption,” the report read. “Global natural gas consumption increases more than 40 per cent between 2018 and 2050, and total consumption reaches nearly 200 quadrillion Btu by 2050”, the report showed.
EIA Administrator Linda Capuano said the outlook for oil demand continuing to rise through 2050 is based on economic growth, population growth, demand for new oil-based products, air-conditioning use, transportation and other factors.
“Even though you see a very aggressive change in renewables, it is just not growing fast enough to meet the demand, and we do not see demand tapering off,” she said at an event to release the report at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.
The forecast sees global renewable energy demand increasing 3 per cent per year between 2018 and 2040, driven by electricity demand and government policies.The EIA expects liquid fuel consumption to decline to 27 per cent as a share of global demand in 2050, from 32 per cent in 2018.
Natural gas is expected to be the world’s fastest-growing fossil fuel out to 2050, with demand rising 1.1 per cent per year, compared with liquid fuel growth of 0.6 per cent per year and coal growth of 0.4 per cent per year.Capuano said the demand assumptions are heavily influenced by expected use in India, China and Africa.