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Global insights

Published:
14 March 2022
The world transitions to a lower carbon energy mix as renewables penetrate rapidly displacing fossil fuels, but with significant variation between scenarios

Highlights

>50,000 TWh

electricity demand in 2050 up from 27,000 TWh today

 

30% to 65%

share of renewables in 2050, up from 10% in 2019

 

33% to 65%

share of electricity in final consumption in 2050

 

-20% to -95%

decline in carbon emissions between 2019 and 2050

 

Under all three scenarios, primary energy increases as global GDP more than doubles over the next 30 years

Renewable energy grows strongly in all scenarios, led by wind and solar

The world continues to electrify, leading the power sector to play a central role in the global energy system

Projections

  • Energy efficiency improves between 2% and 3.5% p.a. depending on the scenario, compared with a 1.5% p.a. average of the recent past.
  • Fossil fuels as share of primary energy declines from just below 80% today to between under 60% in New Momentum and 20% in Net Zero, of which nearly half is abated with CCUS.
  • Within fossil fuels, natural gas remains the most resilient, increasing by nearly a third in New Momentum by 2050. In Accelerated, gas increases over the next decade before declining to one-third below 2019 level in 2050. In Net Zero, gas demand falls by nearly 60% over the same period.
  • Oil demand peaks in the mid-2020s in Accelerated and around 2030 in New Momentum. In all scenarios oil demand declines by 2050 to between 25 mb/d and 80 mb/d.
  • Coal declines in all scenarios to between 3% and below 15% of primary energy, compared to 25% today.
  • Electricity generation more than doubles by 2050 in Accelerated and Net Zero and increases by 85% in New Momentum
  • Wind and solar power contribute between 85% and 115% of generation growth to 2050, reaching between 11,000 and 21,000 GW of installed capacity depending on the scenarios. This compares to 1,200 GW of installed capacity in 2019.
  • Hydrogen demand increases as the energy system progressively decarbonizes to nearly 300 Mt in Accelerated by 2050 and 450 Mt in Net Zero, of which over 60% is generated by wind and solar. Hydrogen demand in New Momentum reaches 50 Mt over the same period, one-third of which is ‘green’.
  • The use of modern, sustainable bioenergy increases strongly in all scenarios, with total bioenergy growing by nearly a third by 2050 to around 70 EJ, 10% of primary energy.