In spite of the worldwide interest in developing alternative energy sources, fossil fuels are expected to provide the bulk of energy in 2050, according to a study conducted by the World Energy Council and Switzerland’s Paul Scherrer Institute.
The next generation will produce and consume between 30 and 60 per cent more energy, with the biggest challenge being producing enough cheap and sustainable energy, the study found.
“It is a time of unprecedented uncertainty in the energy sector,” it said.
The authors of the study – which was presented Monday at the WEC’s World Energy Congress in South Korea – investigated two potential scenarios, one relying on a market economy to produce cheap electricity for all, the other providing more stringent market regulation in order to achieve international environmental goals.
Under the market economy scenario, it was unlikely that the overall objective of restricting global warming to two degrees Celsius would be reached by the end of the century; emissions were projected to increase by 50 per cent compared with today.
Both scenarios saw the greatest proportion of energy needs being met by fossil fuels such as gas and coal. Renewable forms of energy were expected to provide 20 to 30 per cent of needs by 2050, and 30 to 50 per cent for electricity.
The Swiss government’s Energy Strategy 2050, developed in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, includes the phasing out of nuclear power, and calls for energy consumption to be reduced by more than a third by 2035 and nearly half by 2050.
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