Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSA) has released new scenarios in an attempt to explore the possibilities for how the energy sector will develop globally over the rest of this century.
The company has predicted two possible outcomes, and both are radically different.
One scenario sees cleaner-burning natural gas becoming the most important energy source globally by the 2030s and early action to limit carbon dioxide emissions. The other sees solar becoming the top source by about 2070, but with slower action to address the threat of climate change.
Shell’s report sees gas, carbon capture and nuclear power as the chief option in keeping a lid on climate change.
In its first “moderate growth” scenario, called “Mountains”, Shell said, “Cleaner-burning natural gas becomes the backbone of the world’s energy system, in many places replacing coal as a fuel for power generation and seeing wider use in transport”. Oil use might peak in about 2035, and thanks in part to CO2 capture, the power sector could be producing zero emissions by 2060.
In its “more prosperous, volatile world” called “Oceans” where markets forces and civil society dominate, Shell envisages the power sector becoming emissions neutral some 30 years later with oil demand continuing to grow until after 2040 and high energy prices encouraging “the development of hard-to-reach oil resources”.
This article was originally published on Power Engineering International. It was republished with permission.