Renewable energy sources will be the world’s main source of power within two decades and are establishing a foothold in the global energy system faster than any fuel in history, according to BP.
The UK-based oil company said wind, solar and other renewables will account for about 30% of the world’s electricity supplies by 2040, up from 25% in BP’s 2040 estimates last year, and about 10% today, CNBC reported.
In regions such as Europe, the figure will be as high as 50% by 2040.
The speed of growth was without parallel, the company said in its annual energy outlook.
While oil took almost 45 years to go from 1% of global energy to 10%, and gas took more than 50 years, renewables are expected to do so within 25 years in the report’s central scenario.
In the event of a faster switch to a low carbon economy, that period comes down to just 15 years, which BP said would be “literally off the charts” relative to historical shifts.
But the company, as in previous editions of its report, does not see oil going away any time soon. The outlook’s core scenario envisages that oil demand does not peak until the 2030s, though under its greener scenario that milestone could be reached between now and the early 2020s.
Regardless, BP sees a “major role” for hydrocarbons until 2040, which it says will require substantial investment. It expects global demand for oil and gas to be 80-130 million barrels per day by then, up from around 100 million bpd today.
The company has ambitious plans to grow its oil and gas production 16% by 2025, according to figures compiled by the Norway-based consultants Rystad Energy.