Global Trends - Energy Transition Outlook: the scalability challenge

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What’s inside this report?

Our view of how the energy transition will take shape across the entire energy and natural resources value chain. Our report is drawn from integrated analysis in all of our commodity, technology, markets and segments coverage.

Read it to understand:

  • Why it’s unlikely global warming will fall below the 2° C of the Paris Agreement
  • What would need to change for the 2° C target to be achievable and why this is a huge global challenge
  • Three different scenarios we think could play out in the next two decades

The energy mix is changing only gradually. Despite great efforts to reduce costs in renewables, electricity, zero-carbon technologies and advanced transportation – not to mention burgeoning support in governmental policies – it is not enough.

Neal Anderson

President and CEO, Wood Mackenzie

Neal leads our expert teams to deliver exceptional value and insight for clients worldwide

Latest articles by Neal

View Neal Anderson's full profile

Four key takeaways in this year’s Energy Transition Outlook

  1. The global energy system faces a scalability challenge.  It needs to move sharply towards a global warming pathway limited to 2°C or lower. But far more needs to be done to reach the 2°C goal.
  2. The world risks relying on fossil fuels for decades to come. We forecast coal, oil and gas will still contribute around 85% of primary energy supply by 2040, compared with 90% today.
  3. Renewables are the fastest-growing source of energy supply by far. But there are practical limitations to reaching a fuel mix comprised of 50% or greater share for solar and wind – including storage.
  4. Carbon emissions will continue to rise, with growth slowing only in the 2030s. Even under an aggressive-action scenario, global warming will be above 2°C.

Purchase the full 40-page report for in-depth analysis of each of these factors, including charts and data sets. Scroll down for a full table of contents.

We are pleased to release our inaugural Energy Transition Outlook – an entire energy and natural resources value chain assessment of how the next two decades may play out. It’s brought from all of Wood Mackenzie’s commodity, technology, markets and segment coverage and syncs with our H1 2019 research. The report is our base-case view of the energy world – it does not represent business as usual. The outlook reflects an evolution of current policies and technology advancement as well as some degrees of business and consumer inertia. It is broadly consistent with a ~3-degree global warming view.

Table of Contents

  1. Welcome and introduction
  2. Index
  3. Executive summary
    1. Key takeaways
    2. Comparison to other outlooks
  4. Product development horizon
  5. Author biographies

Tables and charts

This report contains 20 tables and charts including:

  • Global carbon emissions by scenario
  • Emissions by key segment
  • Segment progress report
  • Selected country proposals and targets

View all tables and charts in this report

  • Company proposals and targets
  • Base case emissions vs 2015 NDC targets
  • Total Primary Energy Demand: Hydrocarbon and zero carbon supply
  • Global power capacity: net change by generation type, 2020 to 2040
  • Global liquids demand saved in the car sector
  • US power market – state-level efficiency gains
  • Power output TWh (global and key markets)
  • Uruguay thermal output duration curve – 11 June to 4 July (theoretical storage requirement)
  • Total capex across main energy segments
  • Returns in the developer world and power market values
  • WM base case and carbon constrained scenario
  • Hydrocarbon share of energy demand 2000 vs 2040
  • 2040 TPED comparison
  • Wind and solar comparison
  • EV comparison