• DNV GL predicts worldwide energy demand to peak in early 2030s

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Norwegian risk assessment company DNV GL has released its 2018 Energy Transition Outlook, a comprehensive 324-page document. DNV’s forecasting predicts a peak in worldwide energy demand around 2030-35, with energy efficiency improvements reducing demand afterwards. Natural gas is the only fossil fuel predicted to have an increased demand in future years (even up to 2050), becoming the largest share of energy supply by 2026, with demand for coal falling gradually until 2030 and then somewhat faster, and oil demand being steady until 2030 before falling. Wind, solar photovoltaics and hydropower supply will grow, with biomass holding approximately steady, such that by 2050 the renewables/fossil fuel mix will be approximately 50/50%. New oil fields will be required through to 2040 because exiting fields will deplete faster than demand falls. Electrification of energy supply will increase such that 45% of total energy consumption will be in the form of electricity by mid-century. Despite the reduction in energy consumption worldwide and the overall fall in the use of fossil fuels, the Paris Agreement objective of limiting the global average temperature rise to 2oC will not be met, the report finds, without deployment of CCS and/or even higher use of renewables (or perhaps nuclear power or capture of carbon dioxide from air). Interestingly, the report does not see a significant role for hydrogen in the future energy mix, being the final energy carrier for less than one percent of energy use, though it also discounts other ‘wild cards’ such as nuclear fusion, super-conductivity, or radical new solar or battery technologies as being too difficult to predict.