The transition to a low-carbon economy will not only tackle climate change, but can also provide energy security benefits for many countries that are heavily dependent on fossil energy imports.In the BLUE Map scenario, the world’s dependency on fossil fuels in primary energy consumption is reduced from 81% today to 46% in 2050. Coal, oil and gas demand in 2050 are all lower than today. For instance, global oil consumption is reduced by about 27% in 2050 compared to current levels. This saving is roughly equivalent to the present annual oil consumption of the US and Canada combined.Nuclear, biomass and other forms of renewable energy will meet an increasing share of our primary energy needs. Even so, fossil fuels will remain an important element of the world’s energy supply for the foreseeable future.
The transition to a low-carbon economy could herald a new age of electrification.In the baseline scenario, fossil fuels will continue to dominate the power sector, accounting for around two-thirds of global electricity generation in 2050. In the Blue Map Scenario, the power sector will be essentially decarbonised. More specifically, renewables will represent almost half of global electricity production, with nuclear accounting for a quarter and the rest from fossil fuels, mostly combined with CCS.We recognise though that the future is inherently uncertain – and so we have looked at other possible combinations of technologies that can deliver decarbonised electricity generation. You see here the key features of a high renewables scenario and a high nuclear case, which are examined in more detail in the publication itself.Achieving a decarbonised electricity supply opens up the possibility of using electrification as an emissions reduction option in the end-use sectors. Today electricity represents 17% of final energy demand. In the BLUE Map scenario it rises even further to reach 28% by 2050. This is due particularly to a significant penetration of electric vehicles in transport, but other electrical uses, such as heat pumps in buildings, gain an increasing share.
Achieving a decarbonised power sector will require massive investments in low carbon power generation technologies as shown in the figure.For example we will need to add on average each year from 2010 to 2050: 35 coal plants with CCS 30 nuclear plants 12 000 wind turbines and 55 concentrating solar plants.This rate of growth will be very challenging, but at the same time represents a tremendous business opportunity for those developing low carbon technologies and a way to spur the green growth that our economies require.
Meeting Global Energy Challenges through Technology