Solar and wind expected to generate half of the world’s electricity by 2050

Solar and wind expected to generate half of the world’s electricity by 2050
Published: 23 June 2019 - 8:22 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

The world will get about half of its electricity from solar, wind, and battery storage by 2050, according to a new report.

The report comes from BloombergNEF, which says electricity demand will increase 62% during that time. Other non-fossil fuel sources will have a role to play as well, as fossil fuels fade. From Bloomberg:

By 2050, solar and wind will supply almost 50% of the world’s electricity, with hydro, nuclear and other renewable energy resources providing another 21%, according to BNEF. Coal will be the biggest loser in the power sector, with its share of global generation plunging from 37% today to 12% in 2050, BNEF said.

BloombergNEF says solar, wind, and batteries will allow the power sector to “meet its share of emission cuts required under the Paris climate agreement, at least until 2030.” BNEF believes renewables could generate 41% of total electricity by that time.

But after that, the report sees a need for other technologies to make deeper emission cuts, such as hydrogen, geothermal, or tidal energy, while considering that tech such as carbon capture may also eventually make a difference.

By 2050, the report claims Europe will get 92% of its electricity from renewables, and China and India will also get about two-thirds from solar and wind. It’s not as bullish on the US transition to clean energy, predicting that just 43% of the country’s power will come from renewables by 2050.

Long-term Looks

BNEF’s estimates are subdued compared to some other long-term studies in recent months. BNEF also points out that “even if every nation scrubs emissions from the power sector, there are still ample greenhouse gases from cars, trucks, ships, airplanes, heating systems and agriculture.”

A study released in April claimed that 100% renewable energy is possible across all sectors by 2050 — not just electricity, but in heat, transport, and desalination, as well. In that scenario, solar and wind would make up about 87% of the total energy supply by 2050, with bioenergy, hydropower, and geothermal making up most of the difference.

 

Another report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that renewables could account for two-thirds of energy consumption and 86% of power generation by 2050.

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