ExxonMobil’s— “The Outlook For Energy-View to 2040″


The ExxonMobil Report contains a wealth of information. This posting will look at the status of renewable energy in the context of the world forecasts. While there are a number of postings that contend that renewables will be a dominate player, logic says that will not be true. One recent posting declares that within ten years the world could be supplied exclusively by renewable. I would take that bet on the other side.

First some background from the ExxonMobil Report.

The world population will grow from 7.2 billion in 2014 to 9 billion in 2040. India will replace China as the world’s most populated nation at 1.6 billion people. The globes energy demand will increase by 25% from 2014 to 2040. The report believes without their forecasted improvements in energy use, demand would be double their 2040 forecast shown in the report’s 2040 forecast.

The chart below is their forecast of world energy demand 2014 to 2040:  (click on charts to enlarge)


global fundamentals energy demand_full
The dashed line is the demand without the efficiency improvement forecast in the Report.

Renewables produce electricity so the world energy chart shown above is not applicable. The following charts will use World electricity demand.


The following chart shows world electrical demand for 2014 and 2040 and breaks down the source of the electricity.

The report summarizes the source information for the chart.:

  • World shifting to cleaner fuels for electricity generation, led by gas
  • Coal’s share to shrink while natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar gain
  • Coal provides about 30 percent of world’s electricity in 2040, vs. 40 percent in 2014
  • Wind, solar provide more than 10 percent of electricity by 2040, vs. 4 percent in 2014

share of global electricity generation_full

This next chart looks at the capacity increase from 2014 to 2040 for nuclear, wind and solar. The total capacity growth rate is impressive. However, the utilization of wind and solar are forecast to remain at about today’s utilization. Without energy storage, utilization of solar and wind will not improve. There are many people working on battery systems that would provide storage; none so far have proved economical.

The report summarizes the source information for the chart.:

  • Global nuclear, wind, solar all see big capacity additions
  • Nuclear capacity to grow by 85 percent 2014-2040, led by China
  • Intermittency limits the utilization of wind, solar capacity
  • Globally, less than 30 percent of wind capacity is utilized; solar less than 20 percent
  • Wind, solar provide less electricity in 2040 than nuclear despite 3 times the capacity

exxonreneables chart 2015 to 2040

One or more posting will follow about the slow train wreck that is renewable energy.


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