“Global energy”: power mix up to 2050
The Global Energy Prize laureates and the GEP International Award Committee members have determined the global power mix structure up to 2050.
As a recall, it was done through a foresight session that is based on the unique system of expert evaluations. It has shown the energy trends and need for technological breakthroughs. The expert’s conclusions were declared during the international press conference devoted to the 2015 Global Energy Prize laureates’ announcement. Maria Belova, moderator of the forseight session, senoir analytic of VYGON Consulting has presented them during the conference.
According to experts, fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) will remain dominant in the global power mix. They will account 70% of energy demand (as for now this number is around 80%). It is important to mention that these sources of energy will be redistributed as regards to their share: gas, accounting nowadays 21% (or third place) will prevail over oil (with its 32%) and coal (with its 29%).
The growth of gas’ role in the energy balance was mentioned by the 2009 Global Energy Prize laureate, scientific director of the Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics, RAS Academician Aleksey Kontorovich. Thus, during foresight session he said: “There are prospects for the gas industry development, not oil! By 2050, conventional oil will remain only in the Middle East. But there are plenty of sources for gas productions - for example, the coast of Australia. Added to that are shale gas and coalbed methane.”
It is worth mentioning that the role of hydrocarbons will remain dominant due to active development of their non-traditional sources, namely shale and gas hydrates. Coal will remain in the top three only on condition that commercially viable technologies to capture carbon dioxide gases and storage facilities will be developed.
The GEP International Award Committee Member, Head of Oil and Gas Department in the RAS Energy Research Institute Tatiana Mitrova stressed out: “Pure coal – that is what we should long for!”
The GEP laureates and the GEP International Award Committee members predict that nuclear power and renewables will account for 28%. According to them, despite the constraint psychological factors, the role of nuclear energy will increase and by the end of the period will amount up to 8%. Scientists believe that its relative environmental friendliness and accessibility will help solve the problem of energy shortage and that is why a new generation of nuclear power is being significantly invested nowadays.
Progressiveness if this decision is highly supported by the GEP International Award Committee member, professor of Nuremberg University Alexander Gromov. He is sure that “by 2050 individual nuclear reactors will be widely used and nuclear power in its current form will cease to exist”.
Hydropower will retain its current position at around 10%. As for the widely used renewable sources (solar, wind, tidal and wave energy, etc.), their share will be around 10%.
Fundamentally new sources of energy, such as "dark material", the space energy, the energy of the ionosphere, scientists have taken to balance a modest 2%. The reason for this is the knowledge of investment cycle in the industry.
According to the member of the GEP International Award Committee, Technical Director of OJSC "Power Machines", corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yuri Petrenya, "in 35 years in order to achieve the usage of new energy sources at an industrial scale, active investing in them should be implemented nowadays. So by 2050 we will be just able to estimate the investment of the current period.”
The main conclusion drawn by experts is as follows: by 2050 the global energy power mix won’t experience drastic fundamental changes. At the moment the humankind is facing a number of global challenges such as the growing world population, energy poverty, and exacerbating environmental problems. To overcome them it is extremely important to focus on finding relevant technological solutions from the side of energy demand. This includes development of "smart" materials, improved methods of processing information by quantum computers, and the development of smart grids.
"- Developments of the Global Energy Prize laureates solve energy challenges. The most recent proof of this fact is our new winners - Jayant Baliga and Shuji Nakamura. We plan to make foresight sessions a part of the GEP process and to inform the public about the vision of our laureates and the GEP International Committee members on an ongoing basis "- sums up the President of the “Global Energy”, Non-Profit Partnership Igor Lobovsky.