DNV Report: Energy Transition Slow to Replace Fossil Fuels, CO2 Emissions Peak Expected in 2024

DNV Report: Energy Transition Slow to Replace Fossil Fuels, CO2 Emissions Peak Expected in 2024

(IN BRIEF) Despite record-high sales of electric vehicles, increased solar and battery installations, and the rapid expansion of renewables, fossil fuels are still growing in absolute terms and meeting half of the world’s new energy demand, according to DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook. CO2 emissions from energy-related sources continue to rise, with a projected peak in 2024. The report highlights that the global energy transition has yet to replace fossil energy entirely. Energy security and geopolitical factors are influencing the pace of transition, with some regions transitioning slower due to increased reliance on coal. However, renewables are poised to outpace fossil fuels once the transition gains momentum, with wind and solar energy leading the way.

(PRESS RELEASE) HØVIC, 12-Oct-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — Over the last five years fossil fuels have met only half of the new demand for energy globally, despite a rapid buildout of renewable capacity, according to DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook. The report finds that between 2017-2022 renewables met 51% of new energy demand, whilst the remaining demand was supplied by fossil fuels. Renewables are still just meeting increased demand rather than replacing fossil fuels and in absolute terms fossil fuel supply is still growing.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C warming is less likely than ever.  To reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, CO2 emissions would need to halve by 2030, but DNV forecasts that this will not even happen by 2050. CO2 emissions will be only 4% lower than today in 2030 and 46% lower by midcentury. Energy related CO2 emissions are still hitting record highs and are only likely to peak in 2024, which is effectively the point at which the global energy transition begins.

“Globally, the energy transition has not started, if, by transition, we mean that clean energy replaces fossil energy in absolute terms,” said Remi Eriksen, Group President and CEO of DNV. “Clearly, the energy transition has begun at a sector, national, and community level, but globally, record emissions from fossil energy are on course to move even higher next year.”

Energy security has strengthened as a driver of energy policy due to changes in the geopolitical landscape. Governments are willing to pay a premium for locally sourced energy, which has had a notable impact on the Outlook’s results. For example, the Indian Subcontinent is now forecast to transition slower with more coal in the energy mix. In Europe the transition is accelerating with the alignment of climate, industrial and energy security objectives.

Even if the transition is yet to get out of the starting blocks, once it starts renewables will outsprint fossil fuels. From now, most energy additions are wind and solar, which grow 9-fold and 13-fold respectively between 2022 and 2050. Electricity production will more than double between now and 2050, bringing efficiencies to the energy system. The fossil to non-fossil split of the energy mix is currently 80/20 but this will move to a 48/52 split by mid-century.

Solar installations reached a record 250 GW in 2022. Wind power will deliver 7% of global grid-connected electricity and installed capacity will double by 2030, despite inflationary and supply chain headwinds. However, in the near-term, transmission and distribution grid constraints are emerging as a key bottleneck for renewable electricity expansion and related distributed energy assets such as grid-connected storage and EV charging points in many regions, including in North America and Europe.

“There are short term set-backs due to increasing interest rates, supply chain challenges, and energy trade shifts due to the war in Ukraine, but the long-term trend for the energy transition remains clear: the world energy system will move from an energy mix that is 80% fossil based to one that is about 50% non-fossil based in the space of a single generation. This is fast, but not fast enough to meet the Paris goals. Ahead of COP 28, DNV will publish its ‘Pathway to Net Zero’ report, showing that technology is not the main challenge, but rather the incentives to drive fast deployment of renewables & storage and dis-incentives to drive down emissions from fossil fuel are lacking,” added Eriksen.

About the Energy Transition Outlook

The Energy Transition Outlook is DNV’s single ‘best estimate’ forecast of the energy future, with sensitivities considered in relation to our main conclusions. This annual Energy Transition Outlook presents the results from our independent model of the world’s energy system. It covers the period through to 2050 and forecasts the energy transition globally and in 10 world regions.

The Pathway to Net Zero, which is a pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C, will be published separately in November.

About DNV

DNV is an independent assurance and risk management provider, operating in more than 100 countries. Through its broad experience and deep expertise DNV advances safety and sustainable performance, sets industry standards, and inspires and invents solutions.

Whether assessing a new ship design, qualifying technology for a floating wind farm, analysing sensor data from a gas pipeline or certifying a food company’s supply chain, DNV enables its customers and their stakeholders to manage technological and regulatory complexity with confidence.

Driven by its purpose, to safeguard life, property, and the environment, DNV helps its customers seize opportunities and tackle the risks arising from global transformations. DNV is a trusted voice for many of the world’s most successful and forward-thinking companies.

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