The Resources for the Future Research Institute (RFF) is newpublishThe report, Global Energy Outlook 2022: Turning Points and Tensions in the Energy Transition, shows that we are at a crossroads – 19 energy transition scenarios from 7 institutions in the face of fluctuating energy prices and global turmoil, offering different potential futures for energy mix and climate change.
Against the backdrop of geopolitical conflict, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and ambitious climate commitments, the report argues that the global energy system faces enormous uncertainties in the near, medium and long term, requiring well-designed policies to strengthen energy security and achieve climate goals.
The report argues that the long-term energy outlook provides a perspective through which to assess the broad potential future of global energy, emissions and even geopolitics. But because these predictions vary widely and depend on different underlying assumptions and methods, it is difficult to make fair comparisons on a common basis on a common basis.
In this report, the RFF uses a detailed coordination process to compare 19 scenarios in 2021 of seven energy outlooks released by BNEF, BP, Equinor, IEA, IENA, OPEC, Shell Shell, and EIA, among others. The following table lists the historical data sets, prospects, and scenarios summarized in the RFF report.
RFF’s Global Energy Outlook 2022 once again provides a unique “one-by-one comparison” of energy forecasts from the world’s top institutions. In the original form of these energy projections, these outlooks depend on different underlying assumptions and methodologies – the RFF report standardizes on different aspects for robust, coordinated analysis of the world’s potential energy futures. Building on forecasts released in 2021, the report provides insight into the broad energy projection landscape and highlights the need for policy action.
Richard G. Newell, co-author of the study and president and CEO of RFF, said: “In tracking the world’s energy needs and how they have driven energy demand in recent years, we are seeing a growing gap between ambition and progress. “Some scenarios illustrate the path to achieving global climate goals; but scenarios based on existing trends in evolving policies suggest that we are not currently on these paths.” Unless the energy transition accelerates, deeper emissions reductions will be needed in the future to meet global decarbonisation commitments. ”
The report categorizes each future energy scenario based primarily on the intensity of climate policy:Reference scenariosassuming limited or no new climate policies;Evolving scenariosAssuming that the announced policies will be implemented and that technology will evolve in line with recent trends;Ambitious scenariosIt is assumed that new policies will be developed to limit the rise in global average temperatures to 2°C or 1.5°C.
The main conclusions of the report:
- In the short term, options for mitigating high energy prices are limited, but in the medium to long term, energy security and climate goals can be achieved by reducing the use of fossil fuels, improving energy efficiency and diversifying fuel supplies and investments in clean energy technologies.
- Under all reference and evolutionary scenarios, global primary energy consumption will increase significantly over the next 30 years, but carbon emissions will increase in only half of these scenarios, which means that the carbon intensity of the energy mix is reduced and energy efficiency is improved.
- In all scenarios, solar and wind power generation will grow significantly, while in the ambition scenario, wind and solar technologies will play a central role in achieving long-term energy and climate goals. Under an ambitious scenario, solar and wind energy will grow at an alarming rate; in some cases, the annual addition of wind and solar energy is roughly equal to the total installed level of wind and solar installed after 2000.
- Developing countries are expected to account for an increasing proportion of global energy demand in the coming decades. For example, the population and economic growth of African countries is expected to be considerable, as will Africa’s share of global energy. China’s energy demand growth is expected to slow, with China’s coal use declining in most scenarios.
A key figure in the report suggests that the likely range of global carbon dioxide emission projections is very wide. In socio-economic projections developed under the RFF Carbon Social Cost Initiative, these scenarios are placed in context, with shadows representing the range of possible emission projections.
Daniel Raimi, co-author and RFF researcher, said: “We are at a very uncertain time, for example, in these scenarios, the projected demand range for each major energy source (coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable energy) by 2050 is much larger than the total consumption of the same energy source in 2021. While clean technologies are growing rapidly, the key question is whether clean energy can truly replace fossil fuels, or simply add new energy to existing fossil fuels. ”
Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, non-profit research institute based in Washington, D.C., United States. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy and natural resource decision-making through impartial economic research and policy engagement.
Solar and wind power could play a central role in achieving the world’s long-term energy and climate goals.atAmbitious scenarios, envisioning unprecedented growth in both sources. For example, from 2030 to 2040, the IEA NZE (Net Zero Scenario) expects to add 602GW of installed solar capacity per year, roughly equivalent to the 605GW of cumulative global installations by 2019. atreferenceandEvolutionUnder the scenario, wind and solar energy will also be at least 2.5 and 7 times the 2020 data by 2050.
In 2021, global wind power generation will be about twice as much as solar power. But projections of their relative contribution are different. Three scenarios for BNEF envision 78-113% more wind than solar power by 2050, and IRENA’s two scenarios predict 17-47% more wind power. However, several other scenarios predict that solar will produce more electricity than wind by 2050.
Forecasts of insufficient growth in wind and solar energy come from EquinorRivalry scenarioand Shell’sIslands scenario。 These scenarios envisage heightened geopolitical tensions and increased economic isolationism, highlighting the important role that global supply chains can play in deploying low-cost, clean energy technologies. In recent years, however, countries have reassessed their dependence on global supply chains after disruptions due to covid-19, China’s increased dominance in many basic materials and components, and ongoing events in Ukraine. Investments in domestic supply chains will increase resilience to future shocks, but they are equally likely to raise the cost of clean energy deployments, and therefore may slow the deployment of wind and solar.
Fueled by its extraordinary economic growth, China’s energy use more than quadrupled from 1990 to 2020.Over the next 30 years, all scenarios project a significant slowdown in China’s energy demand growthFrom 39 percent of the highest U.S. EIA High Economic Growth scenario to 20 percent of the lowest Equinor rebalancing scenario. Coal, which accounts for 60% of China’s primary energy in 2020, is expected to decline in most scenarios, while China’s coal demand will decline sharply in the ambitious climate scenario.
From 1990 to 2020, China’s demand for liquid fuels (oil) increased sharply, continuing to grow rapidly under the reference scenario, slowing down in the evolutionary scenario, and continuing to decline in the ambition scenario. In the IEA STEPS – Established Policy Scenario, in the Stated Policies (STEPS), demand for 2050 is roughly equal to 2020 levels, but under the IEA APS scenario (Announced Pledges), where China is expected to meet its declared climate commitments, demand for liquid fuels will fall by more than half.
On the other hand, under all scenarios, China’s natural gas demand is essentially flat or growing. Demand doubled or tripled under the reference scenario, growing by 60% under IEA STEPS and essentially flat under the IEA APS scenario and SDS (Sustainable Development). Both Equinor’s Reform and Rebalance scenarios envisage relatively strong growth in natural gas in China, which argues that natural gas will replace coal in China’s power generation sector.
In all scenarios, China’s nuclear and renewable energy sources will grow significantly. Even in the most pessimistic scenario (US EIA Reference), nuclear energy will almost triple over the next 30 years. On renewables, wind energy will grow from 1.6 QBtu in 2020 to 3.4 QBtu in 2050 under the lowest scenario (EIA reference scenario) and to 14.4 QBtu under the highest scenario (IEA APS and SDS). Solar energy in China is growing faster, rising from 2.0 QBtu to between 5.7 QBtu (Equinor Rivalry) and 23.6 QBtu (IEA APS) by 2050.
Will global energy demand continue to grow?Since the Industrial Revolution, energy demand has been closely linked to population and economic growth. However, some scenarios suggest that in the future this linkage may be less solid, mainly due to the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most outlooks indicate higher energy demand in 2050 than in 2020. But the growth of global energy demand is uncertain, especially in the context of government policies and/or technological breakthroughs that fundamentally alter the nature of the world’s energy system.
Most scenarios predict significant growth in global energy demand, with shell Waves predicting a 53% increase by as much as 53% by 2050 compared to 2020 levels. The intermediate scenario (IEA APS) is expected to grow by 14% and IEA STEPS is expected to grow by 26%. Under several ambitious scenarios, global demand in 2050 is 8% to 13% lower than in 2020. To put it another way, global energy demand grew by 59% over the 30-year period from 1990 to 2020.
Most other ambitious climate scenarios envisage that energy efficiency will play a central role in limiting global temperature rise.Some of these scenarios, such as the IEA SDS and NZE, present a vision of declining global energy demand but still having access to modern energy services for 100% of the world’s population, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7).
The 2050 ambition scenario also varies widely in demand for natural gas. The IEA’s SDS and NZE scenarios are 51% and 55% lower than STEPS, Equinor’s Rebalance is 61% lower, and BNEF’s all three scenarios are more than 80% lower.
While most ambitious climate scenarios project lower primary energy consumption in 2050 compared to IEA STEPS, BNEF Red and Shell Sky1.5 scenarios predict higher levels of total energy use.For BNEF Red scenariosFossil fuel demand has been almost completely replaced by nuclear energy, which has grown 17 times to 2020 levels. The role of nuclear energy in other scenario projections has been mixed, with demand ranging from below 11% (BNEF Green) to more than 38% (Shell Sky 1.5).
Renewables have the largest difference in growth between ambitious climate scenarios and evolutionary policy scenariosAlthough all scenarios predict considerable growth in renewables.In a 2°C scenario, BNEF Red and BNEF Gray scenarios and Equinor RebalaThe difference between the nce scenario and the forecast under the 2050 IEA STEPS scenario is less than 20%, while the IEA SDS and BNEF Green are about twice as different from the 2050 IEA STEPS scenario. IrENA 1.5°C, IEA 1.5°C scenarios and IEA net zero scenarios NZE and Shell Sky1.5 are approximately 2.4, 2.5 and 2.9 times more IEA STEPS, respectively.
Almost all ambitious climate scenarios predict that wind energy demand in 2050 will be more than double that of IEA STEPS.The 1.5°C scenario is 2.8 to 3.1 times the IEA STEPS level in 2050. In the 2°C scenario, IEA SDS and BNEF Gray and BNEF Red were 2-3 times the IEA STEPS level, and Equinor Rebalance was 35% more. BNEF Green is by far the most aggressive wind energy solution, arguing that wind energy will make a huge contribution not only to power generation but also to hydrogen production, and that wind energy will be more than 8 times the level predicted by the IEA STEPS scenario by 2050.