Technology can unlock plentiful supplies of energy
Advances in technology will keep energy supplies plentiful and affordable. We estimate that the energy theoretically accessible in 2050 could be 455 billion tonnes of oil equivalent per year. That’s more than 20 times the amount needed to meet expected demand.
Technology can unlock supplies of almost all forms of energy, from fossil fuels to sunlight and wind. In fact, several of these resources could theoretically meet all primary energy demand on their own.
The world has abundant technically accessible energy resources
NOTE: The chart represents the energy resource potential per year based on the availability of the underlying source of energy, without reference to economic viability. Fossil and uranium (for nuclear) resources have been annualized over a 50-year period for comparison with renewables which are available each year.
What kind of energy do we want?
The absolute volumes of resources assessed are less important than their relative proportions. In addition, other factors such as cost of supply, energy density, remoteness from centres of demand, supply chain constraints and intermittency must be considered. Taken together these mean that only a limited portion of the full potential needs to be or will be accessed by 2050. The question becomes less about “will we have enough energy?” and more about ”what kind of energy do we want?”
"There are plentiful supplies of energy in the world, which leads to the question: 'which ones do we want?' That is the critical choice for policy-makers."David Eyton, group head of technology