BP Says Renewable Power to Leap Ahead by 2030

Yes, you read that correctly.

In an assessment eerily similar to one delivered by Mark Delucchi and Mark Jacobson (and broken down here) less than a week ago, BP – the energy company that we all love to hate – says that the diversification of energy resources by 2030 will see renewables leaping ahead of fossil fuels for the first time in history.

At least that’s the message delivered by BP Energy Outlook 2030, an industry report which BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley says covers the “huge issues.”

Huge indeed, since what could be a bigger issue than global energy supplies, or the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide most of them produce when burned? Scientists have repeatedly warned that any increase in global warming beyond 2 degrees Celsius could lead to catastrophic climate change.

Of course, Dudley is quick to point out that the report is a projection, “not a proposition.” Or, in Dudley’s carefully worded explanation, while the company is not as optimistic as some about reducing carbon emissions, the cause implicated in global warming, it does see wind, solar, bio-fuels and other renewable sources of energy capturing an increasing portion of market share, increasing up to 6 percent by 2030, or as much as 18 percent of market share overall.

This figure compares more than favorably to natural gas, which the report expects to grow the fastest of the fossil fuels, or at 2.1 percent per year – more than three times as fast as oil. Even coal is expected to grow no faster than 1.2 percent per year, though by 2030, BP speculates, it will provide as much energy as oil (not counting biofuels).

In order for renewable energy technologies like solar and wind to leap ahead as predicted, fossil fuel consumption is expected to fall, from 83 percent to 64 percent.

This fall, the report suggests, will be largely a result of environmental policy initiatives around the globe, and the report anticipates a peak in global emissions just after 2020, at about 20 percent above 2005 levels – a fact that Dudley says should be a “wake-up call” in light of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s caveat regarding that infamous 2 degrees.

The report also examines energy demand from emerging economies like China and India, and suggests that such non-OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, a consortium of 34 largely European countries) nations will account for 93 percent of demand.

What makes the report truly hopeful, in terms of renewable technologies like solar (and truly scary in terms of staying under that 2-degree limit) is the fact that one of the world’s largest and formerly most profitable oil companies is saying it. This is like having your chain-smoking father remind you that cigarettes cause cancer.

Photo Credit: Oregon DOT & Wikimedia via CC licenses

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