In the coming decades we expect to see substantial investment in technologies aimed at converting and using energy rationally. The proportion of renewable energies will also rise sharply. Hydrogen technology can considerably expand the limits on renewable energy use. In contrast to standard forecasts predicting that world energy consumption in 2030 will be 60 percent up on today’s level, we present a scenario in which the coming decades herald fundamental changes in the energy system.
On the basis of improved technologies coal will play a greater role in the production of electricity in the long term. The outlook for natural gas is already bright in the medium term, due mainly to the opening up of new markets in the emerging markets and the increased use of gas in power stations. A renaissance for nuclear energy is also conceivable, with fourth-generation power stations, producing substantially less nuclear waste, set to come on stream around 2020.
The recent sharp rise in the oil price does not, in our view, is not a reflection of the looming shortage of oil reserves. Even if oil consumption rises further, reserves will last until well into the second half of the century. However, with the cost of oil exploration climbing ineluctably and given the pricing power of OPEC, the oil price is unlikely to fall back below USD 30 a barrel.
For investors we see particularly good opportunities in technologies to enhance electricity production and technologies to boost energy efficiency for the end consumer. But renewables and the natural gas market should also find a place in any energy portfolio.