Energy produced by wind, solar and other renewable sources will grow by fourfold by 2030, but the clean-energy sector will account for only a small fraction of total output, a BP report said on Wednesday.
Renewable energy, excluding hydropower, will total 860 million metric tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) by 2030, accounting for around 5 percent of the world’s total energy production of 16,605 Mtoe.
In 2010, renewable energy production totaled nearly 159 Mtoe or just over 1 percent of the global total, data from BP’s Energy Outlook 2030 showed.
The European Union will initially lead the growth in renewable energy production, although from 2020 the United States and China will be the largest sources of growth, it said.
Global investment in clean energy hit a record $260 billion in 2011, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report said earlier this month.
But investment in global wind energy fell by 17 percent year on year, while the renewable energy sector as a whole saw plant and corporate closures due to slowing growth in demand.
BP in December shut down the remnants of its solar unit, following the closure of several other solar energy businesses amid competition from China, falling prices, overcapacity and lower government subsidies.
In Wednesday’s report, BP CEO Bob Dudley said fossil fuels will continue to play a “critical role” in the world’s energy mix, even as renewable energy sources continue their rapid growth.
BP said natural gas is projected to be the fastest growing fossil fuel globally to 2030 at an average annual rate of 2.1 percent.
Energy from coal will account for more than a quarter of total energy output by 2030.
The world’s dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas means global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will rise to levels “well above” what science says is needed to avoid runaway climate change, the BP report said.
BP projected a 28 percent increase in global CO2 emissions by 2030. Last June, it estimated 2010’s global CO2 emissions at around 33 billion tons.
(Reporting by Jeff Coelho; editing by Jason Neely)
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