A transition from fossil fuels to mitigate the impacts of climate change will require large amounts of metals and rare earth elements that could create environmental challenges, the World Bank has warned.
Total energy investment worldwide in 2016 was just over $1.7 trillion, accounting for 2.2% of global GDP. Investment was down by 12% compared to IEA’s revised 2015 energy investment estimate of $1.9 trillion.
Germany raised the proportion of its power produced by renewable energy to 35 percent in the first half of 2017 from 33 percent the previous year, according to the BEE renewable energy association.
Keeping the rise of global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius means reducing energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by more than 70 per cent by 2050 (compared to 2015 levels). Analysis by IRENA for the G20 Presidency has shown that renewable energy and energy efficiency could potentially achieve 90 per cent of those reductions.
Wind and solar developers together have added about 40 gigawatts to the U.S. grid over the past two years, bringing total installed wind and solar capacity to about 120 gigawatts.
China plans to invest 2.5 trillion yuan (US$368 billion) into renewable energy projects during the 2016-2020 period, creating more than 13 million jobs in the sector, according to the National Energy Administration.
Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said: “Global energy markets are in transition. The longer-term trends we can see in this data are changing the patterns of demand and the mix of supply as the world works to meet the challenge of supplying the energy it needs while also reducing carbon emissions. At the same time markets are responding to shorter-run run factors, most notably the oversupply that has weighed on oil prices for the past three years."
While most big oil companies foresee a day when the world will need less crude, timing when that peak in oil demand will materialize is one of the hottest flashpoints for controversy within the industry. It’s tough to predict because changes to oil demand will hinge on future disruptive technologies, such as batteries in electric cars that will allow drivers to travel for hundreds of miles on a single charge.
Saudi Arabia aims to produce 10 percent of its power from renewable sources in the next six years as it pushes ahead with a multi-billion-dollar plan to diversify its energy mix and free up more crude oil for export.
Specifically, a plan to boost wind and solar energy capacity in coming years was likely to bring in $13 billion in investment, Procaccini said. There also is potential for $30 billion in mining investments to help Argentina catch up to neighboring Chile, and efforts to cut labor costs will help attract investment in oil and gas.
Peak electricity demand has grown nearly 13% over the past two years as a growing middle class seeks new services, such as air conditioning, which continue to place higher demands on the system. Over the next 25 years, energy demand is expected to more than double as a result.
To meet Sustainable Energy for All objectives, it is estimated that renewable energy investment would need to increase by a factor of 2-3, while energy efficiency investment would need to increase by a factor of 3-6. Estimates suggest that a five-fold increase would be needed to reach universal access by 2030.
“We are witnessing an energy transformation taking hold around the world, and this is reflected in another year of record breaking additions in new renewable energy capacity,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “This growth in deployment emphasizes the increasingly strong business case for renewables which also have multiple socio-economic benefits in terms of fueling economic growth, creating jobs and improving human welfare and the environment. But accelerating this momentum will require additional investment in order to move decisively towards decarbonising the energy sector and meet climate objectives. This new data is an encouraging sign that though there is much yet to do, we are on the right path,” Mr. Amin added.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as it is formally called, is considering investments of as much as $5 billion in renewable energy, part of the kingdom’s effort to reduce the amount of oil feeding domestic energy needs.
The growing world economy will require more energy, but consumption is expected to grow less quickly than in the past - at 1.3% per year over the Outlook period (2015-2035) compared with 2.2% per year in 1995-2015.