Solar energy will comprise the backbone of the world’s energy system in years to come, according to the CEO of Shell (yes, that Shell), Ben van Beurden.
The exact words used by Van Beurden were that he has “no hesitation to predict that in years to come solar will be the dominant backbone of our energy system, certainly of the electricity system.” Considering that these words were from the CEO of one of the largest oil companies in the world, one would assume that he has good reasons for saying what he did.
Notably, this matches well some energy forecasts put out by Shell a couple of years ago.
The very interesting remarks came during an interview that the Shell CEO gave to BBC Radio 4. During the interview he also restated his opinion, though, that global energy demand will somehow double within the next few decades, and that fossil fuel use will continue to rise for several more decades — something that I’m extremely skeptical of. So perhaps we should take his comments with an extra grain of salt. 🙂
Commenting on oil exploration in the Arctic by the company, and criticism over that, Van Beurden, commented: “It is a very, very volatile business in terms of supply and demand. The oil price responds to very small mismatches between supply and demand.”
Interestingly, he also stated, when asked when he thought oil prices would “recover,” that the “honest answer to that is I don’t know.”
Considering that current oil prices don’t allow for expensive Arctic drilling and exploration, it looks like that part of the company’s business will be on hold for the time being. You can count me as skeptical, though, that most Arctic fossil fuel reserves won’t end up being extracted over the longer term — there seems likely to be a fair amount conflict over that issue, as well, with many Arctic countries already forming themselves into blocs with the intent to exert greater influence in the region than would otherwise be possible.