BNEF Forecasts 5 Seismic Shifts To Global Electricity

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Bloomberg New Energy Finance has released a report forecasting five seismic shifts it believes will impact the global electricity sector over the next 25 years.

Specifically, the global energy analysts predict a $2.2 trillion boom in small-scale solar through 2040, with the increase in consumer control over their energy generation, and a tangentially weaker growth in electricity demands.

Regardless of the electricity sector’s shifts, however, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) is predicting a bleak future for the climate.

BNEF-11The report, New Energy Outlook 2015 (Neo 2015), was published today and represents BNEF’s latest annual long-term forecast for global power. The report is based upon detailed analyses of countries and technologies, covering electricity demand, cost of generation, and structural changes in the global electricity system.

“NEO 2015 draws together all of BNEF’s best data and information on energy costs, policy, technology and finance,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “It shows that we will see tremendous progress towards a decarbonised power system. However, it also shows that despite this, coal will continue to play a big part in world power, with emissions continuing to rise for another decade and a half, unless further radical policy action is taken.”

Specifically, the report identified five “seismic shifts” that it forecasts will take place over the next 25 years, through 2040. These include:

  • Investment in solar will surge $3.7 trillion across both large-scale and small-scale solar, due to the continuing decline in PV technology
  • Of that $3.7 trillion, approximately $2.2 trillion will be funnelled to rooftop and other local solar PV applications
  • Energy efficiency developments in sectors such as lighting and air conditioning will contribute only a 1.8% growth in global power demand per year, compared to a 3% growth between 1990 and 2012. In fact, by 2040, power demand in OECD countries will be lower than it was in 2014
  • Natural gas will not be the “transition fuel” many have claimed, with many developing nations opting for a combination of coal and renewables, and coal-to-gas being a predominantly US-centric story
  • Despite the good news and $8 trillion in investment in renewables, there will be enough lingering fossil fuel power plants and enough investment in new coal-fired capacity throughout developing countries to ensure that CO2 emissions rise all the way through 2039, and will still be 13% above 2014 levels by the time we reach 2040

“The CO2 content of the atmosphere is on course to exceed 450 parts per million by 2035 even if emissions stay constant, so the trend we show of rising emissions to 2029 makes it very unlikely that the world will be able to limit temperature increases to less than two degrees Centigrade,” said Seb Henbest, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Bloomberg New Energy Finance and lead author of NEO 2015.

“The message for international negotiators preparing for the Paris climate change conference in December is that current policy settings – even combined with the vast strides renewables are making on competitiveness – will not be enough. Further policy action on emissions will be needed.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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