The most important paper of the year on energy is out as the International Energy Agency published its landmark World Energy Outlook report.
To this prestigious agency, global energy demand is to increase by 37 percent by 2040. Here are the five main findings, summed up by Cleantechnica :
1) Long-term oil supplies are not secure.
the IEA’s headline message this year is the same as it was last year: the tight oil revolution in the US is set to dwindle from the 2020s onwards. Reliance will grow on a relatively small number of producers. Global supplies will hinge critically on investments in the Middle East
2) The world is still on track to 3.6 degrees warming.
The global energy system is not being transformed quickly enough to avoid dangerous climate change. CO2 emissions will grow by one-fifth out to 2040, the IEA projects, putting the world on track to a 3.6-degree temperature rise. The entire carbon budget allowed under a two degrees scenario is set to be consumed by 2040.
3) Emerging economies are in the driving seat.
Asia counts for 60% of global growth in demand going forward, followed by Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In the early 2030s, China will take over from the US as the world’s largest oil-consumer.
4) Nuclear power faces an uncertain future.
Global nuclear capacity increases by 60% to 2040 (that’s one big new plant being commissioned every six weeks!) , but its share in electricity generation grows by just one percentage point to 12% (six reactors are also being retired every year).
(…) Almost 200 reactors are due to go offline between now and 2040, most of these in Europe. The IEA estimates the cost of all this decommissioning at some US$100 billion, although some observers are already saying this hugely underestimates the job at hand.
5) Fossil fuel consumption subsidies do not help the poor.
These subsidies amounted to US$550 billion in 2013, or more than four times the subsidies for renewables, the IEA calculates. They are often intended to help increase energy access, it says, but in reality “fail to help those that need it most and discourage investment in efficiency and renewables”.
There some new findings in this report, notably the growth of nuclear. I am wondering if it will really take place as nuclear have seen their costs explode (no pun intended, thank you) since the tragedy in Fukushima, Japan.
A note of hope however as the IEA is quite known for underestimating each time the exponential growth of renewable energy sources…