Clean Power

Published on February 12th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


BP Predicts Fossil Fuels To Remain Dominant Source Of Energy, Everyone Else Disagrees

February 12th, 2016 by  

One of the world’s seven “supermajor” oil and gas companies, BP, has released its annual Energy Outlook, claiming fossil fuels will remain a dominant source of energy throughout the next two decades.

In response, everyone else disagrees. BP-3

Fossil Fuel Optimism

The BP Energy Outlook is the company’s annual analysis of the “most likely” path for the global energy landscape over the following 20 years. The statistics at the heart of the report are not inherently wrong or misleading, but British Petroleum’s (BP) interpretation of those stats is often the cause for much concern and public ridicule.

According to the Outlook, global energy demand is going to increase by 34% between 2014 and 2035, by an average of approximately 1.4% per year. Accurately, BP notes that, “This growth in overall demand includes significant changes in the energy mix, with lower-carbon fuels growing faster than carbon-intense fuels as the world begins to transition to a lower-carbon future.” However, rather optimistically, BP further concluded that, “Despite the rapid growth of other sources, the Outlook projects that fossil fuels will remain the dominant form of energy over the period to 2035, meeting 60% of the projected increase in demand and accounting for almost 80% of the world’s total energy supplies in 2035.”

“In the middle of a downturn in oil and gas prices, it is important not only to adapt to the current tough conditions, but also to prepare for the next set of challenges,” said Bob Dudley, BP’s group chief executive. “Energy is a long-wavelength industry and we need a long term perspective of how the energy landscape we operate in is likely to evolve.

“As this year’s Outlook demonstrates, the world is going to continue to demand growing supplies of energy but the mix of those supplies is changing and becoming less carbon-intense. However, further policy action may be necessary to meet international targets to limit carbon emissions.”

Renewables vs. Fossil Fuels

The Outlook does concede that, “Non-fossil fuels are projected to grow even faster than anticipated in last year’s Outlook.” Specifically, the Outlook predicts renewables (including biofuels), to grow at around 6.6% per year, and increase their share in the energy mix from 3% (today) to 9% by 2035.

Unsurprisingly, BP has faced a lot of criticism in response to its underperforming renewable energy scenario. Over the past several years there have been legitimately dozens of reports and predictions from firms and organizations such as Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and more, predicting renewable energy could make up as much as 30% of demand by 2030 given the right investment framework — a framework we are seeing take shape, as countries like the US, China, and India all firm up their renewable energy policies.

BP isn’t dismissing the role renewable energy will play in the coming two decades, but it is thoroughly weighing the stats against it so as to firm up their own industries’ role in the coming years.

Simply “Not Credible”

Unsurprisingly, these seemingly biased predictions have yielded much ridicule from renewable energy proponents.

“This is a story of how an oil and gas company predicts the rosy prospects of oil and gas companies,” explained Greg Muttitt of Oil Change International. “BP would like us to believe that government action on climate will fail, that clean technologies will fizzle, and that the future of energy will still be based on the carbon fuels of the past.

“Every year, BP has predicted that the growth in renewable energy will slow down, and each time it has been wrong. This year, again it massively downplays renewables, estimating they will provide a mere 15% of world electricity in 2030 – in spite of wind and solar achieving grid parity in most of the world, and in spite of government action arising from the Paris Agreement.”

“Dressed in a veneer of concern about climate change, in fact BP’s outlook is a public relations exercise, designed to boost fossil fuels and undermine public faith in clean alternatives. Meanwhile it deflects responsibility to government or to coal companies, to distract from its own extraction of oil and gas.

“This is not a credible view of the future of energy.”

BP makes a clear effort each year to present all the facts, but then often relegates those facts which conflict with their own interests.

“BP’s energy outlook to 2035 has changed little over the last year,” said Luke Sussams, senior analyst at the Carbon Tracker Initiative. “It appears to state the COP21 international climate change agreement will make little impact in suppressing future fossil fuel demand, which continues to meet more than 80% of global energy needs.”

“As in previous years, BP’s outlook highlights key uncertainties such as lower economic growth or a faster shift to a low-carbon economy. But these considerations do not make it into its base case.

“For example, BP foresees global energy demand increasing rapidly off the back of emerging economies of Asia. But, China’s economy is slowing faster than anyone thought, lowering energy demand growth. Further, the overall growth narrative in the entire region is changing as concerns grow over the huge debts China amassed to fuel its post-2008 manufacturing boom.

“We believe the base case does not adequately reflect the possible downside scenarios in the nine key demand assumptions highlighted in Carbon Tracker’s Lost in Transition report published late last year.”

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About the Author

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.

  • Colin Genge

    Even though Oil companies should become renewable energy companies, their efforts on renewables is mostly greenwashing to hide the fact that their real intentions are simply to sell as much oil as possible. Should they be banned from offering renewable alternatives so they cannot say “see renewables aren’t working which is proven by the failure of our own efforts” and then as players make pronouncements about renewables from pretended experts.

    The line should be drawn between those who are the problem, oil companies, and those legitimately in renewables. Then, we need to go after all subsidies that oil companies receive that has been estimated at over a $ Trillion and to get them to pay the cost of burning their product on global warming and air pollution which is well in excess of the price we pay for oil. By getting rid of oil companies “ok to pollute” license, renewables will come on the scene many times faster than they would otherwise.

    It is clear that if BP and others continue to spin these deceptive articles that they need to be restrained and that restraint extends to limiting their ability to unduly influence the political process which is precisely what they do now.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Oil companies extract and refine petroleum. They manufacture nothing.
      The renewable energy business is largely about manufacturing solar panels and wind farms. I don’t see a natural transition from extraction/refining to manufacturing. An example of natural transition would be ICEV manufacturers morphing into EV manufacturers.

      What oil companies should do, IMO, is continue to do what they do while being careful to not invest any more money than necessary to ride them through to the end of oil. People who own oil company stock need to reposition their capital before the stock price sours.

      • Colin Genge

        By “should”, I mean if they see the writing on the wall and know their empire will soon become smaller. Which they don’t because as you said, extracting a commodity is a different mindset from creating competitive machinery. I am sure the oil business is about “pump more; make more money” and about ends there.
        There is still a role for them for non energy applications such as plastic and lubricant feedstock but after that, the idea of polluting air, water and soil to get at and use a ready source of energy is absurd.

      • Calamity_Jean

        ” I don’t see a natural transition from extraction/refining to manufacturing.”

        Offshore wind might have a number of skills in common with offshore oil drilling. Other than that and geothermal, you’re right, they got nothin’.

        • Bob_Wallace

          The companies that build the floating part of floating oil rigs could build floating platforms for offshore wind. The companies that build the anchors could have a role. Perhaps floating cranes could be repurposed.

          Past that I’m seeing nothing.

          • Calamity_Jean

            “Past that I’m seeing nothing.”

            And neither are they, which is why they are working so hard on denying that their usefulness is coming to an end.

    • Philip W

      They should do what they do best. Drilling. They could use their expertise to bring geothermal energy forward.

  • NRG4All

    What happened to “Beyond Petroleum”? Vote for Bernie.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Let’s not get into campaigning here.

  • sault

    To make it in an oil company, it seems like one would have to buy into the company line that pollution isn’t all that bad, climate change is made up and renewable energy is just a bunch of government-supported hippie crap that can’t stand on its own merits. Plus, they are trained to never acknowledge the government support their own industry gets in direct subsidies, national governments spending blood and treasure defending oil supply lines and not having to pay for the negative impacts of pollution their products cause.

    • eveee

      Yes. It would have been odd if BP announced that all was lost and everyone should divest them, because they were going out of business. But then it would not be greeted with yawns the way this announcement was.

      Headline reads,

      OIl company makes self serving statement.

      And now for a word from our sponsor.

      • Colin Genge

        Agreed. What a surprise that they would paint themselves in a glowing light. Some at BP might even believe it them selves.

        • eveee

          So heres the add. We are creating huge amounts of toxics and pollution and making great progress on reducing them. Were green. (washed)

    • Bob_Wallace

      Or acknowledge that the company you work for is doing a lot of harm and isn’t likely to survive long term. So the task at hand is to make the most money possible for as long as you can.

      Pile up a lot of money. Make contacts and build your reputation. Be prepared to jump to a new industry before the crash.

      (I don’t think any of us would be surprised to find out that there are a lot of unethical people in the world. And that a large number of them are attracted to business.)

      • sault

        Agreed. The people in the VP level and above probably only need to stay in their position for a few years to be set for life. And even if the crash happens on their watch, their golden parachutes get paid out first, and usually out of workers’ pension funds if they haven’t already raided it. The book “The Great Retirement Heist” goes into detail on how this works.

  • harisA

    Whatever happened to “Beyond Petroleum”!

    • Ronald Brakels

      Well Beyond Petroleum they found more petroleum. It was just in the form of heavy layer of asphalt that they decided required the extraction of methane clathrates to provide energy to process it into liquid form. And hey, you really want to burn up that methane clathrate. They will do the world an environmental favour by using it. Otherwise it will just bubble up into the atmosphere once they’re through burning all that lignite and subbituminous coal they’re planning to.

      • BigWu

        Coming soon to a marketing campaign near you.

        “Did you know methane is 21x worse for the environment than CO2? At , we’re dedicated to helping the environment by converting dangerous methane to far more benign molecules, reducing global warming impact by 95%. And producing valuable electricity to power our lives!”

        “Burn Not Bubbles. For a brighter today and cooler tomorrow!” TM $Petrochemco

    • Ross

      It’s difficult to see any future other than write downs, cost cutting, asset sales, investor divestment and falling profits for them as the world moves away from oil. They’re an industry without hope. Beyond Profits as they try to salvage some value before the game is finally over.

    • neroden

      John Browne, the CEO who used the “Beyond Petroleum” slogan and invested in solar panels… resigned due to a sex scandal. The next CEO, Tony Hayward, reversed everything Browne had done and sold all the solar interests.

      Simple as that. I sold my BP stock roughly when Browne resigned.

  • Brian

    I’m sure BP is far too pessimistic about its competitors’ future cost declines and is overestimating fossil fuel growth. Still, it is important to realize that fossil fuels won’t go away if we don’t try. There is more cheap oil, gas, and coal in the ground than we can afford to burn. Look what slowing demand growth has done to oil prices. If we are successful at reducing oil demand in the future, we will be rewarded with cheap oil like today. Based purely on economics, the decline of fossil fuels will be slow.

    Luckily, most of the world is willing to try a little to speed up the transition. However, in the US, any efforts to accelerate the decline of fossil fuels will depend on the outcome of future elections. We cannot get complacent and leave the energy transition only half completed.

    • JamesWimberley

      I came across my first air pollution denialist at Joe Romm’s blog the other day. The published estimates of deaths from asthma and heart disease etc are wrong, wrong. But there wasn’t even a pretence at pseudoscientific sourcing, it was just blind assertion.

      I don’t see this taking off. it took many years of effort and a lot of money to create the climate denial network, and it’s crumbling. On air pollution, the Kochs and BP would be starting from scratch. They would be up against the medical establishment, which has a lot more status than climatologists. The researchers can produce videos of wheezing rats and babies if necessary.
      Let’s bang on about this: the victims are you and your neighbours, not brown others far away.

      • Calamity_Jean

        I ran across one a few months ago, maybe it’s the same idiot. I don’t remember the name, but people can change pseudonyms anytime.

    • Calamity_Jean

      Feel the Bern, or feel the burn.

  • vensonata

    I remember vaguely some guy making a prediction about ” a thousand year Reich”. Whatever happened to that idea?

    • JamesWimberley


      • Riely Rumfort

        And some witness relocation..

      • vensonata .

        I get it.

  • JamesWimberley

    Nothing to worry about, Mr. Dudley. Keep up the deep-sea prospection, oil prices are sure to rise soon. Tesla will fizzle, its ambitions will come up against the fact that everybody really wants a vroom-vroom gasoline car. Lazards must be getting their data on wind costs from biased promoters. Bloomberg and Goyal are just as starry-eyed on solar costs. And the hippies are forgetting that the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine all the time! The Paris circus was just for show, governments who want to stay in power will put cost and convenience first as they always have done. The divestment movement won’t spread beyond Scandinavia and a few liberal campuses.

    Shall I light the gas mantles on my way out, Sir, and ask for your carriage to be brought round?

    • Riely Rumfort

      *Sarcasm Detected*(Robot Voice)

      • Martin

        Good one! :))
        As well they may forget that over the last 20 years or so in a lot of counties GDP went up, by 50 % or more, while total energy use decreased!
        My guess is they are using rose colored glasses!! 😉

        • Riely Rumfort

          Or the beer goggles of being drunken with power.

    • Freddy D

      Hehe. Yes, bring the carriage around. And load the camera with fresh film please. How are my Eastman Kodak stock shares doing?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Hang on, let me grab my slide rule and calculate your earnings rate.

    • Mike333

      Maybe the “hippies” look into things just a little more than you did.
      Intermittency, of course, disappears the larger the wind farm, and the dispersal of wind farms on the grid.
      Then there’s the falling price of battery storage.
      But, the sun does shine during Peak Energy Usage hours. Perfect for saving everyone on the grid a FORTUNE. As a matter of fact peak carbon profit is moved outside daylight hours when solar is implemented.
      There have been 30 bankruptcies in coal in 2015. I think you’re wrong if you think only Scandinavia has people with brains.

      • Mike333

        Oh. This was sarcasm.
        Sorry, James, I thought I had read some smart comments from you before.

    • Jens Stubbe

      Not sure oil is going significantly up again. Synfuels has recently gotten a lot more efficient. Up until recently the conversion loss was 40% but it is now down to 19%.

      Renewables are pretty close to being cheap enough to replace crude oil as the cheapest source for the petrochemical industry together with excess CO2 – as would already be the case if the external cost was factors was factored in.

      I USA the cost required to salvage oil, fracking gas and coal are astronomic. Hopefully you vote the right president into power and let raw capitalism work without interruptions to clean up the mess that the fossil industries has sunk into. No more bail outs of banks and rich owners of fossil stocks please.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Oil is almost certain to take a significant price upward movement once we burn through the current surplus. And another upward bump as existing wells slow output. These are supply issues that are in place.

        There’s another event which could cause a price increase. A few days ago some of the oil producers started talking about a new agreement for countries to limit production in order to support higher prices. A new OPEC.

        Synfuel will have no role to play in oil pricing over the next several years. There’s no infrastructure in place that could produce enough fuel to make a difference. The amount of oil that the world burns each day is massive.

  • Freddy D

    All comes down to the following assumptions:
    PV annual price decline per watt installed
    Wind annual price decline per watt installed
    Auto battery annual price decline per kWh
    Stationary storage annual price decline per Mwh.
    Alternatively just take annual historic exponential growth rates for each of these plug into excel and turn the crank. Excel then says that 2027 will be an interesting year, and very different from BPs analysis.

    In all fairness to the BP analysis, much of the installed capital equipment installed now will run through its lifespan. All ICE cars sold in 2016 will burn petroleum until those cars are worn out in 2036. That’s 99% of the 2016 car market.

    • Riely Rumfort

      It’s mainly about battery price decline for me, Wind and PV don’t have as large a portion to fall.

      • Freddy D

        Indeed PV and wind have now fallen enough to undercut new fossil generation. To undercut existing plants, however, and displace current fossil consumption will take another 50% drop. Then BPs predictions for electric generation fossil share fall apart.

        • Jens Stubbe

          In Europe where the renewable have a larger marketshare they are now paying fossil fuel plants to continue operation even though the economic rationale is no longer there. And generally in Europe the fossil power plants are more efficient while coal is more expensive than in some parts of USA. If you removed the fossil direct and indirect subsidies along with the direct subsidies to renewables and nuclear then fossils would end as soon as you could build sufficient renewable power generation.

          By the way that is about the timing you arrived at since solar will be at least 50% cheaper by 2025 and wind 40% cheaper.

      • Jens Stubbe

        Why on earth do you think PV and wind technology has eclipsed. That is not a view you can find support for in the PV or wind business.

        A more level headed prediction would suggest that the cost decline will continue but perhaps slow a little as is already the truth for wind that is approaching the historic decline rates after a five year run with considerably faster cost decline.

        I think PV will continue 10% annual cost decline trend and wind will drop to 5% annual cost decline, which means that by 2025 respectively solar new PPA’s in high insolation areas will be roughly $0.03/kWh and wind on US average will be $0.02/kWh in USA.

        How ever if, disruptive developments such as better HVDC infrastructure or if one or more wind innovations in the pipe line could pan out, then wind could drop a lot more.

        • Riely Rumfort

          I don’t judge a product’s PPW by it’s warranty period, doing such is moronic.
          Do I turn in my car for a new one at 100,000, or replace my hard drives after 2 years?
          A well made solar panel/wind turbine will last >half a century, which changes the stats drastically. Yes, wind has maintenance costs but they hardly renders it null.

          • Jens Stubbe

            Wind turbines and solar panels are very different things. A wind turbine requires a lot of maintenance and the site is quite valuable so very likely you will switch before end of service life. Not so with solar panels that will as you put last half a century.

          • Riely Rumfort

            I pretty much said that with the exception of wind locality.

    • JamesWimberley

      It may not be so comfortable. Remember how quickly norms changed on the social acceptability of smoking? Coal has just about lost its “social license to operate”, and the same could very well happen to pollution-spewing cars and vans. London already has a low-emission central traffic zone; a few more election cycles, and ICEs may be effectively banned by prohibitive fees.

      The risk of changes like this will speed up the change in buyers’ attitudes, ahead of price parity. The despised ICEVs can be sold off at knockdown prices to Kinshasa for a while, but not for long.

      • Martin

        Fees in Europe, at least some countries, for car, trucks go by engine size, small engine small fee, big engine big fee.
        Best way to get people to change, hit them in the wallet.

        • heinbloed

          Re. wallet

          Electric power at the EEX powwer exchange is now avaiable for € 0.02/kWh:

          (3rd last sentence)

          Oil costs around € 0.03/kWh (@ € 50.-/barrel)

          And BP hopes to get $ 100.-/barrel …. jokers 🙂

          • Martin

            Right now oil has two problems: overproduction, by about 2 million barrels a day worldwide and second storage is getting to the point that tanks may overflow this year and third use is steady or falling.
            Remember one Koch brother owned business want to “buy” oil if you give then $ 0.50 a barrel!

      • Freddy D

        Interesting thought. After being wrong so many times on the political side of anything related to climate change, I’ve generally focused on pure economics, which gives me a much better track record on predictions. But yes, layer in some legislation against existence big ICEs and retire them early. Very difficult politically, particularly with $0.99 / gallon gasoline. It will be interesting.

      • Mike333

        Even southern states, given the choice of Water for drinking and farming, or massive amounts of fresh water to clean coal for processing, have Shut Down Coal.

        All it takes is a drought in the SouthEast coal is done.

  • No way

    Is there anyone thinking that fossil fuels will not be the dominant source of energy in 2035?

    • Ronald Brakels

      Well, I hope not. But that’s very different from predicting that fossil fuel use will increase by roughly 40% as BP does in their report.

      • No way

        Well BP are nuts 😛 Not as bad as Shell (well, few companies even get close) but they will still not get close to the truth in their predictions.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’m thinking that the crossover point could be somewhere around 2035.

      I expect FF to be less than 50% of electricity sourcing by then. The question is how rapidly EVs reach purchase price parity. If they get there by 2025….

      • Riely Rumfort

        Depends on how competent the market is, 2050 at the latest.

      • No way

        I hope you’re right but I’m not as optimistic. The EU has even set a lousy 27% reneweable energy goal for 2030 and are generally ahead of the big ones like US, China and India.
        Add another few procent of nuclear.

        But then the rest will be unfortunately most likely be dirty energy.

        It could be possible if we stopped all the brakes and went full speed ahead, but too many seem indifferent or even very reluctant.

        But EVs as you say might be one of the “new technologies” that will move us ahead faster and push us over that line taking away the crown from fossil fuels.

        • Bob_Wallace

          My thinking runs along these lines….

          1) Each year the cost of renewables decreases.

          2) Each year smart people improve our solutions.

          3) Each year public concern about climate change increases.

          All that, if true, means accelerating rates of renewable energy uptake and fossil fuel abandonment. Back in 2009 Jacobson and Delucchi created a blueprint for converting almost all global energy needs – electricity, transportation and heating – to renewable energy. They said that all is lacking is political will.

          Cost decreases and better solutions lower political resistance. Public pressure creates political will.

      • neroden

        My estimates also put the crossover point around 2035. Maybe as early as 2030.

        • Otis11

          I did an ‘naive’ analysis back in 2010 plotting out the growth curves in electricity usage and wind/solar deployment. At that time if you made the assumption that everything would follow the historical best-fit trend the crossover point occurred in 2027. (For 50% of global electricity generation being renewable – also includes Hydro, but assumes hydro resources stay constant.)

          Now, many things have changed since then so it might have changed. Also, FF resistance, business inertia and other such effects will slow this down while customer pressures, unexpected technology advancements and government regulations will speed it up.

          Which ones will have a larger effect? Who knows. But because of exponential trends a small change in favor of renewables will only advance the crossover point slightly while a small change against could extend the point a bit more significantly, so if viewed as a prediction, represents a fairly optimistic one at that. All considered, however, I would say 2030 is probably a fair guess and 2035 probably a bit conservative…

          • Bob_Wallace

            I agree that the crossover point for electricity will be a lot sooner than 2035. But we started out talking about energy which includes transportation and heat.

            Transportation will be somewhat sticky because people will be reluctant to crush a ICEV that is in good repair. As EVs begin to dominate sales the price of fuel is likely to become permanently low. People will pay $100/mo or some other modest amount for fuel rather than take on a larger EV payment.

            The average age of ICEVs in the US is now about 13 years (IIRC). I’m going to guess that the age at which 80% of ICEVs have gone to the crushers is about 20 years. EVs are likely to shorten that 20 years back to some extent, but it will still take years to get ICEVs off the roads.

          • Otis11

            Yes, unfortunately the EV trend is to susceptible to technology, policy and markets to make any current predictions meaningful… I did extend the trend and try to account for various factors at a best guess but it’s shaky at best.

            As far as overall energy vs electricity, that heavily depends on the rate of electrification. Fortunately, since most of that increase in electricity demand will be semi-flexible it will likely increase renewable penetration (canceling out demand increases and keeping the crossing point more or less constant).

            Otherwise I think we agree…

          • Matt

            If we get lucky we will see some big cities, saying NO ICEs within the city core, or maybe 20 Km from center. That or a very large charge so that only the 0.01% can afford it. It would only take a couple to get the trend going. It might happen first in China.

    • newnodm

      I think we will use a lot of natural gas to bridge to renewables in the U.S. If EVs really take off there may be a trade of gasoline for methane on the grid.

      • Mike333

        Natural gas was viable 5 years ago. Now it’s dead. Solar and wind are already cheaper in the 20 most southern US states.

        That bridge has burnt down.

        • Bob_Wallace

          A couple years back if someone wanted to replace coal the option was wind/solar + natural gas. Now we’re reaching the point where wind/solar + storage will cover part of the replacement but storage is affordable for only a few hours. NG is our best way to take care of the deeper storage needs.

          NG will likely continue to play an important role for the next several years. Storage development and cost reduction will whittle away NG’s role but it won’t happen overnight.

          • newnodm

            Several years? Maybe 20 years in the U.S. if things go really, really well.
            It will take years to almost completely eliminate coal in the U.S.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Coal is now at ~34%. We should be able to ramp wind and solar up to 3% a year after another year or two.

          • Mike333

            NG is a very inefficient way to create electricity. You lose a lot of value in the conversion process. It would be better used for heat alone.
            Solar, and wind, in the 20 southern US states is already cheaper than natural gas.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think you misunderstand what I wrote. I was not saying that we use NG as “baseload” generation but as fill-in for when wind and solar are not available.

            Fossil fuels are inefficient ways to create electricity. But NG is highly dispatchable. If we use NG 30% of the time and wind/solar for the other 70% we greatly reduce CO2 output.

            To start with NG produces 50% as much CO2 per MWh as coal. 30% * 50% means 15% as much CO2. Batteries will take it lower over time.

          • Mike333

            Oh, right. Agreed.

    • Mike333

      Yep. Exponential growth looks slow until it wipes you out.
      The improvements in solar and wind in the lower 20 US states are already cheaper then fracking energy. Why are you posting this question on this blog. You should have known the answer already.

      • No way

        Well not everyone in here lives in lala-land. Some also what to have a realistic view on things and a discussion based on that. You have to be a very very optimistic person to consider that it’s not the dominant source of energy still in that year.

        Exponential growth is one of the most overrated cliches to use. It only works until a certain point of saturation. The hard part is to keep the speed up after the initial exponential growth. If not then we could just sit back and relax, but there is so much more work to do to have a chance to get there and maybe even surpass it.

        • bill

          So you are saying that exponential growth only works until a certain point of saturation.
          What a brilliant observation on your part. You must be in mensa.

        • neroden

          The saturation point for the exponential growth of solar panel manufacturing is WAAAAAY in the future, thanks to all the places in India and Africa which don’t have electricity and want it.

          We’ll be able to replace all the first-world electricity production well before we hit that worldwide saturation point.

          • No way

            It doesn’t work that way. And if it did then our job would be done, we could just sit back and relax and let the exponential growth do the job.
            What we need to prepare for is how to keep the levels up when the growth is about to go down, to keep it from going totally flat too early.
            It’s always like that. Do some research on any old industry/product or whatever that has had exponential growth to start with and see how it turns out.

          • Matt

            Ok folks, deep breath. “No way” could have pointed to say Germany, it is no where near saturation and yet it’s install rate for PV has dropped.
            “No way” is just saying the job is not done yet, and we will likely hit bumps along the way.

        • Jens Stubbe

          You are wrong. The energy transition will be like the departure from fat tubes to flat panels.

          It is simply impossible to innovate the fossil value chains at the same speed as renewables have managed and continue to manage.

          One of the problems is that if the fossil value chains innovate then the most important part of it will be energy efficiency, which spells continued carnage for the producers of fossil fuels.

          A standard US coal power plant could have been at least 50% more energy efficient if it had matched 30 year old standards in Denmark. Almost unbelievably stupid they decided not to innovate and produce to modern standards – now it is simply too late.

          Fracking gas and shale oil only survives based upon subsidies and bankers with limited understanding of market dynamics more bankruptcies, restructure and government bail out is probably required.

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