BP: Renewable Energy to Triple Its Share of World Energy Supply by 2030

February 2, 2011

Renewable energy sources other than hydropower will continue to grow strongly over the next two decades, increasing their share of the global energy supply from 2% today to 6% in 2030, according to BP. The energy company's new publication, the BP Energy Outlook, sees renewable energy as the fastest-growing source of energy over the next 20 years, leading a gradual shift from coal and oil. Renewable energy sources are projected to grow at a rate of 8.2% per year over the next two decades, while natural gas becomes the fastest-growing fossil fuel, increasing at a rate of 2.1% per year. As a result, oil, coal, and natural gas are each forecast to provide about 26%–27% of the world's energy needs in 2030, with nuclear power, hydropower, and non-hydro renewable energy sources each providing about 7%.

This shift in the overall energy mix takes place against a backdrop in which the world's energy use continues to increase, driven mainly by increasing energy use in developing countries. In fact, BP expects global energy use to rise nearly 40% by 2030, with 93% of the growth occurring in developing countries. However, energy efficiency gains will help to moderate this growth. As a result, energy intensity, defined as the energy use per unit of economic output, will continue its historic trend downward and will decline at an accelerating rate, according to the company. But that still results in carbon dioxide emissions from energy use reaching a level in 2030 that is 27% higher than today's.

The BP Energy Outlook, released on January 19, is the first of BP's forward-looking analyses to be made available to the public. BP notes that the publication is not a "business-as-usual" extrapolation of current trends but rather a reflection of the company's judgment on the most likely future path of global energy markets. See the BP press release and the BP Energy Outlook.