What does a peak in per capita demand mean for global energy?
A new World Energy Council report, called “The Grand Transition”, has found that global per capita energy demand will peak before 2030. The prediction is nothing short of historic, given that world energy demand has more than doubled since 1970.
What accounts for the shift?
According to the document, released just prior to the start of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, “unprecedented efficiencies” created by new technologies and energy policies will precede the 2030 demand peak. Efficiency gains will be made through the spread of energy-efficient generation methods, as well as the impact of IoT integration. Put simply, growth in renewable energy, and ‘smart’ technologies for managing this capacity, will lead to a lower per-person demand for energy.
How will it happen?
Conversion rates are higher for renewable forms of energy generation, like wind and solar, which means that less energy is required from the primary source. In 2014, solar and wind accounted for 4 percent of global generation, but the report anticipates that this figure could rise to 39 percent by 2060.
It’s also thought that demand for electricity will double to 2060 and that meeting this demand will require “substantial infrastructure investments and systems integration”.
And what about fossil fuels?
The report posits three scenarios for energy use: the first forecasts that the fossil fuel share of primary energy will drop to 70 percent by 2060, with the remaining two predicting 63 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
The report does not produce a definitive prediction for peak oil production. Two of the scenarios see oil reaching its apex in 2030 at either 103 million barrels per day or 94 million barrels per day. The third scenario contains a more conservative estimate in which the fossil-fuelled status quo persists until oil production plateaus at 104 million barrels per day between 2040 and 2050.
In order to shield markets from the economic impact of fossil fuel divestment, the World Energy Council says that “carefully weighed” exit strategies must be in place “or the destruction of vast amounts of public and private shareholder value is unavoidable”.
Read the October 2016 issue of Energy Digital magazine
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.