Thursday, May 19

Global wind and solar power capacity grew at a record pace in 2020 | Energetic industry

Global wind and solar power capacity grew at a record pace last year, while the oil industry saw its biggest drop in demand since World War II, according to BP.

The impact of coronavirus lockdowns on the energy industry caused carbon emissions to plummet 6% from the previous year, the steepest drop since 1945, according to BP’s annual review of the energy sector.

But the report says that Covid’s impact on carbon emissions must be repeated every year for the next three decades if governments hope to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels.

“Yes, they were the biggest drops seen in 75 years,” said Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist. But they occurred in the context of a global pandemic and the largest economic recession in postwar history. The challenge is to reduce emissions without causing massive disruption and damage to daily life and livelihoods ”.

The warning echoes a report from the International Energy Agency last month that predicted global oil demand will rebound by 5.4 million barrels per day this year, one of the fastest rises on record, and will rebound. at pre-pandemic levels by the end. of 2022.

BP’s annual energy review, published every year since 1952, is considered influential in the energy industry and helps inform the company’s strategic decisions. Last year, BP set out a plan to reduce its oil production and increase its renewable energy generation in the next decade, on track to become a net zero energy company by 2050.

Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, said: “Yes, the world needs more low-carbon companies. But perhaps more than anything, it also needs existing energy companies to decarbonise and in doing so use their scale and expertise to help achieve the deep and complex wiring and reconnection of the global energy system that the world wants and needs to see in the next years. 30 years. “

BP’s latest energy review found that total energy consumption in the world fell 4.5% in 2020, mainly driven by a 9.7% drop in demand for crude, used to make transportation fuels, or just over 9 million barrels of oil per day. Dale said the demand collapse was “much larger than anything seen in history and much larger than the drops” in other energy sources.

Meanwhile, the “relentless expansion of renewable energy” meant that electricity generated by wind, solar and hydroelectric plants was “relatively unscathed,” Dale said.

The report found that global wind and solar power capacity grew by 238 GW in 2020, more than five times greater than the UK’s total renewable energy capacity. The increase was primarily driven by China, which accounted for about half of the global increase in wind and solar power production capacity, but even controlling for that 2020 was a record year for wind and solar farm construction.

Dale said the trend away from fossil fuels to renewables last year was “exactly what the world needs to see in its transition to net zero.”

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