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20 Mar

Energy supplies evolve over time

As technologies advance, the global energy mix will grow more diverse and less carbon-intensive Considering that 100 years ago, most of the world’s energy came from wood and coal, it is clear that energy supplies can change dramatically over time.

While government policies and consumer preferences each play a role in this evolution, the biggest factor is advancements in technology, which shape both demand for energy and the supplies used to meet that demand.

Economics and affordability are key factors that enable a fuel to reach the scale needed to penetrate the market. Over the next 30 years, advances in technology will continue to remake the world’s energy landscape.

Fuels will continue to grow less carbon-intensive and more diverse.

Global supplies of two of the world’s most essential fuels – oil and natural gas – will be expanded through the ongoing application of new technologies, including advancement in unconventional and deepwater production.

By 2040, oil, gas and coal will continue to account for about 80 percent of the world’s energy demand.

The scale and affordability of these fuels position them to be the major long-term supplies over the next several decades.

Nuclear energy, one of the most significant energy breakthroughs of the last century, also will see strong growth through 2040.

The expansion of nuclear energy will be encouraged by a desire to reduce emissions, but also by new technologies that can strengthen confidence in the safety of nuclear power.

At the same time, the world will see meaningful growth in renewable fuels.

The largest contribution will be from wind, but growth also will be seen in solar, biofuels and geothermal energy.

Advances in technology will be necessary to make these fuels more practical and economic, increasing their penetration in consumer markets.

By 2040, modern renewable fuels are expected to account for about 7 percent of global energy demand, compared to 3 percent in 2010.