By John Brian Shannon
Royal Dutch Shell has published a startling report in which it laid out its projected growth plan and provided details about the huge global implications for citizens, governments and the energy industry.
Shell's New Lens Scenarios paints a picture of a new order among the different kinds of energy and how energy use will change between now and 2100.
Two different scenarios named 'Mountains' and 'Oceans' take different views of the many factors likely to affect the industry over the next 87 years, but there is far more consensus than disagreement between them.
The boom in natural gas figures prominently in both scenarios with natural gas dramatically ramping up to become the number one kind of energy in the world by 2030. The quote from the report's main author Jeremy Bentham, speaks volumes about the anticipated level of demand for the gas."The underlying pent-up demand for gas is very strong…we see it being sucked up, every molecule," he wrote in the report.
By 2060, the report has PV solar power moving into number one position to provide at least 38% of global energy supply -- well up from today's distant 13th ranking. See: Shell Sees Solar As The Biggest Energy Source After Exiting It in 2009.
Due to enhanced Carbon Capture and Storage, clean combustion technology and the use of CO2 gas for industrial processes by 2100, Shell sees "global emissions of carbon dioxide dropping to near zero by 2100".
By 2100, energy from oil will account for only 10% of worldwide energy use and natural gas will account for just 7.5% of the global total, Shell report said.
What might lie ahead 50 years from now… or even in 2100? We consider two possible scenarios of the future, taking a number of pressing global trends and issues and using them as "lenses" through which to view the world.
The scenarios provide a detailed analysis of current trends and their likely trajectory into the future. They dive into the implications for the pace of global economic development, the types of energy we use to power our lives and the growth in greenhouse gas emissions.
The scenarios also highlight areas of public policy likely to have the greatest influence on the development of cleaner fuels, improvements in energy efficiency and on moderating greenhouse gas emissions.
The first scenario, labelled "mountains", sees a strong role for government and the introduction of firm and far-reaching policy measures. These help to develop more compact cities and transform the global transport network. New policies unlock plentiful natural gas resources – making it the largest global energy source by the 2030s – and accelerate carbon capture and storage technology, supporting a cleaner energy system.
The second scenario, which Shell calls "oceans", describes a more prosperous but volatile world. Energy demand surges, due to strong economic growth. Power is more widely distributed and governments take longer to agree on major decisions. Market forces, rather than policies, shape the energy system: oil and coal remain part of the energy mix but renewable energy also grows. By the 2060s solar becomes the world's largest energy source. – Shell
Shell sold its global solar holdings in 2009 except for those located in Japan. The Anglo-Dutch company, having taken a long, studious look into the future, has since embraced PV solar as never before and is presently buying back its own shares at a brisk pace.
John Brian Shannon is a writer who lives on Canada's west coast. Green energy, sustainability and economics, are his favorite blog topics. His articles appear in the Huffington Post, EnergyBoom, Arabian Gazette and other quality publications.
Check out John's personal blog at http://johnbrianshannon.com