Image: International Energy Agency.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
NATURAL gas and renewable energy will be the biggest players in global energy growth in the next 25 years, according to new International Energy Agency (IEA) findings.
In its World Energy Outlook 2017, IEA stated the global energy system was being reshaped by four major forces: the rapid deployment and falling costs of clean energy technologies; growing electrification of energy; a shift to a more services-oriented economy and cleaner energy mix in China; and the resilience of shale gas and tight oil in the US.
By 2040, global energy demand was forecast to increase by 30 per cent, with a 45 per cent upsurge in natural gas use by 2040.
Oil demand was also expected to rise but at a steadily decreasing pace at an annual rate of 0.4 per cent.
However IEA said it was “too early to write the obituary of oil” with sectors such as petrochemicals, trucks, aviation and shipping driving up oil demand to 105 million barrels a day by 2040.
Coal’s outlook was less favourable, with the agency declaring the boom years to be “over” if countries don’t adopt large-scale carbon capture utilisation and storage (CUSS) technologies.
“Since 2000, coal-fired power generation capacity has grown by nearly 900 gigawatts (GW), but net additions from today to 2040 are only 400GW and many of these are plants already under construction,” IEA stated.
On the renewables front, rapid deployment of solar photovoltaics (PV), led by China and India, helps solar become the largest source of low-carbon capacity by 2040.
“Solar is forging ahead in global power markets as it becomes the cheapest source of electricity generation in many places, including China and India,” IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol said.
The US was set to account for 80 per cent of the increase in global oil supply to 2025, and by the mid-2020s would become the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.
APPEA chief executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said this highlighted a major challenge for Australia.
“The opportunity for Australia is huge but our competitors are hungry,” Dr Roberts said.
“If Australia is to capture further investment in LNG production, it is vital we get the policy settings right by maintaining a stable and competitive tax regime and reducing regulatory costs.”