Renewables by far fastest-growing energy source

Oil giant BP has predicted that renewable power will be the fastest-growing source of power between now and 2040.

In its latest Energy Outlook report, the company presented an “evolving transition” scenario, which assumed that government policies, technologies and societal preferences evolve in a manner and speed similar to the recent past.

Under this scenario, BP forecast that renewables will be “by far the fastest-growing fuel source”, increasing five-fold and providing around 14% of primary energy.

Yet oil and gas will still account for more than half of the world’s energy in 2040 under the scenario.

Growing competition from fuel sources

Spencer Dale, BP’s Group Chief Economist, said: “By 2040, oil, gas, coal and non-fossil fuels each account for around a quarter of the world’s energy.

“More than 40% of the overall increase in energy demand is met by renewable energy.

“We are seeing growing competition between different energy sources, driven by abundant energy supplies, and continued improvements in energy efficiency.

“As the world learns to do more with less, demand for energy will be met by the most diverse fuels mix we have ever seen.”

BP reiterates support for carbon pricing

Under its evolving transition scenario, carbon dioxide emissions would rise by 10% by 2040, slower than at present but still too high to meet the Paris agreement targets.

BP also modelled an “even faster transition” scenario – with a similar decline in carbon emissions to the International Energy Agency’s “sustainable development scenario” – under which carbon dioxide emissions fall by almost 50% by 2040, mainly due to the almost complete decarbonisation of the power generation sector.

Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive at BP, said: “We need a far more decisive break from the past.

“In BP, we continue to believe that carbon pricing must be a key element as it provides incentives for everyone to play their part – from consumers using energy more efficiently to producers providing more low-carbon forms of energy.”

Meanwhile, the latest Electric Insights quarterly report from power station operation Drax says that the UK is less dependent on fossil fuels than ever.

The report, which was compiled by Imperial College London, said that renewables produced more power in 2017 than the country’s entire energy consumption back in 1958.

The UK used 91 TWh of power in 1958, with renewables producing 96 TWh last year.

The amount of power generated by renewables rose by 27% between 2016 and 2017 thanks to windier weather.

> Download BP's report