Last week the International Energy Agency released its 2015 World Energy Outlook which looks at global energy trends to 2040.  Here is the factsheet summary. You can see a video presentation here.

The IEA projects that the global need for electricity will be much greater in 2040 than it is today, with demand about 70% higher. Fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and crude oil) will generate 54% of our electricity in 2040. When nuclear and hydro are added, conventional generation will supply 80% of the Earth’s electricity.

By 2040 renewable energy will continue to largely rely on hydro-electric power.  At that time hydro will deliver about 16% of the world’s electricity.

Between now and 2040 nuclear reactors will increase their global production capacity by 86%.

While the IEA is predicting a continuing major role for fossil fuels in our energy mix in 2040, futurologist Ian Pearson thinks fossil fuels could be obsolete 10 years later. He believes that by mid-century the Earth will have switched over to either solar power or nuclear fusion to create our electricity. “If you go 100 years from now I think the energy we use will come from either fusion or solar.”

The South American country of Argentina expects to generate 8% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2017. This will come from wind, solar and small-scale hydro. This percentage would increase to 20% by 2020 based on a new law passed by the country’s Chamber of Deputies. Currently 87% of Argentina’s electricity generation comes from burning fossil fuels, the rest from nuclear and hydroelectric energy.

All electricity in Austria’s largest state is now produced from renewables. Lower Austria now gets 63% of its electricity from hydroelectric power, 26% from wind energy, 9% from biomass and 2% from solar. Austria as a whole gets 75% of its electricity from renewables.

According to GTM Research, Australia’s energy storage market will reach 244 megawatts by 2020. Energy storage technologies are being driven by high solar PV penetration in the country coupled with expensive electricity rates. Today, utility-scale storage is the largest market segment in Australia but this will rapidly change as a significant number of storage system vendors bring in residential storage products. The intermittent nature of renewable energy sources is a huge burden on the power grid and hence there is an incentive for firms to create flexible and economical energy storage technologies.

AES Philippines has started construction of its first energy storage facility in Asia. The plant, the first battery-based energy storage facility in the Philippines, will be located next to the Masinloc electric power plant in Zambales and will be ready to operate next year. The facility will provide 10 megawatts  of interconnected capacity on the Luzon grid. Energy storage is particularly attractive to island grids that face unique challenges in instantaneously matching supply and demand.

Construction of a stationary energy storage unit made from electric vehicle batteries has begun in Lunen, Germany, at Remondis SE, a recycling, service, and water company. When completed and connected to the grid in 2016, it will have a 13 megawatt per hour capacity. A special feature of this venture is the use of recycled battery systems from Daimler electric vehicles.

More than 1 billion gallons of renewable drop-in diesel/jet was produced worldwide in 2014, reports the US Energy Information Administration. The fuels are produced by reacting vegetable oil or animal fat with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst. These fuels  can be used in diesel engines without the need for blending with petroleum diesel fuel or in jet engines at up to a 50% blend rate with petroleum jet fuel.  There are currently 10 plants worldwide that produce renewable diesel. Finnish Neste is the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel. Other major producers are Italy’s ENI, U.S.-based Diamond Green Diesel, and Swedish refiner Preem.


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