RENEWABLES TAKE FLIGHT
THERE ARE NUMEROUS SMALL
factors that could slightly increase or decrease these projections. For example, natural gas in transportation could finally see a major surge. But the real wildcard in natural gas demand forecasts is renewable energy sources. “To meet that 450 [ppm] target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, you really need a lot of conversion to renewables, so that is the one threat to gas,” says Jackie Forrest of ARC Financial. “In a scenario where the world creates policy to limit emissions within that 450 ppm range, gas market share is smaller than would be the case otherwise.”
The costs for renewable sources like wind and solar are falling fast, and are constantly seeing improvements in energy return on investment (EROI), but building up capacity nonetheless requires heavy spending. Global investment in renewables is expected to reach $400 billion by 2030, up from $270 billion today. That is sure to pay major dividends in future. The IEA predicts that under current policy, global consumption of renewables will increase threefold by 2040; under more stringent government regulations, it predicts renewables would grow by a factor of eight. Investment in clean energy will continue as countries feel increasing pressure to keep global temperatures under control. With billions funding research and innovation efforts, a ground-shifting improvement in renewable energy is plausible.