The growth in primary energy over the Outlook is dominated by renewable energy, as the world shifts towards lower carbon energy sources.
Renewable energy – including wind, solar, geothermal and bioenergy but excluding hydroelectricity (see Renewables) – increases more than 10-fold in both Rapid and Net Zero, with its share in primary energy rising from 5% in 2018 to over 40% by 2050 in Rapid and almost 60% in Net Zero. Although the growth of renewables is less pronounced in BAU, they still account for around 90% of the overall increase in primary energy over the next 30 years (Renewables).
The increasing importance of renewable energy comes at the expense of hydrocarbons whose share of primary energy declines from close to 85% in 2018 to around 40% by 2050 in Rapid and 20% in Net Zero.
Within hydrocarbons, natural gas has the most durable outlook, with its level in Rapid in 2050 broadly unchanged from its current level and around 35% higher in BAU. Consumption of natural gas falls by around 40% by 2050 in Net Zero (Gas).
The level of oil demand in both Rapid and Net Zero does not fully recover from the sharp drop caused by Covid-19, with demand falling by around 50% by 2050 in Rapid and almost 80% in Net Zero. The outlook for oil is more resilient in BAU, with demand in 2050 declining slightly from its current level (Oil).
Coal consumption declines significantly in all three scenarios, particularly in Rapid and Net Zero in which it falls by well over 80% by 2050 (Coal).
The way in which the pronounced falls in the demand for oil, natural gas and coal in Net Zero are matched on the supply side by the countries and regions which produce these forms of energy is very uncertain and not explored in detail in this section.