By Nina Chestney
Renewable energy will grow more quickly than forecast and provide around 15% of world power generation by 2035, oil company BP said.
Renewables, including biofuels and wind power, are projected to increase at a rate of 6.6% per year, boosting their share of the total primary energy mix to 9% by 2035, up from 3% now, BP said in its annual Energy Outlook 2035.
Renewable energy production was 354.6 million tons of oil equivalent in 2015 and will rise to 1,359.4 million tons by 2035, it added.
The firm revised its forecast of renewables growth up by 14% from last year due to faster-than-expected technology cost reductions, particularly for solar power, and in anticipation of policies to further support low-carbon energy.
BP likened the surge in renewable power to oil’s growth at the beginning of the 20th century.
“The rate at which renewables gain share from 2020 to 2035 matches oil’s gain over the 15 years of 1908 to 1923—years that included the Texas oil boom, the discovery of oil in the Middle East, the British Navy switching to oil and the Model T Ford starting mass motorization,” BP said in the outlook.
Other renewables forecasts are more bullish. Green energy policy network REN21 says renewable energy capacity grew by 8.5% in 2014 alone
While BP sees renewables accounting for 15% of electricity generation in 2035, the International Energy Agency forecasts that they will account for a third by 2040.
While renewable energy growth rises, coal growth will slow by 0.5% a year, resulting in its share of the primary energy mix falling to 25% by 2035, with gas replacing it as the world’s second-largest fuel source, BP said.
In spite of this, carbon dioxide emissions are seen growing by 20% from 2014 to 2035. Their growth rate is expected to more than halve to 0.9% per year over the next 20 years compared to 2.1% per year in the past 20 years.
BP said global energy demand is expected to grow by 34% by 2035 while oil production is expected to double.
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