The Russian Energy Agency has prepared three different scenarios for world energy development until 2050

The Energy of Life pavilion of the Russia International Exhibition and Forum hosted a presentation of world energy development scenarios up to 2050 prepared by the Russian Energy Agency of the Russian Ministry of Energy.

As Alexey Kulapin, Director General of the Agency, noted, this work started about three years ago, when trends of accelerated energy transition were actively developing in the global energy sector, which continue to intensify today. All this had an impact on the Russian fuel and energy complex in terms of carbon regulation and decarbonisation processes.

“Russia shares the need for measures to counter climate change, but it is not the right approach to implement these measures without regard to national priorities. In order to form its own view on the most likely trajectory of the global energy sector development, the REA of the Russian Ministry of Energy has developed its own version of possible energy transition scenarios. We have created an unbiased product that can be used not only by researchers, scientists and industry experts, but also by the government, business and the international community,” said the head of the Agency.

A huge array of statistical data was used to prepare the scenarios, and a special modelling apparatus was created. A group of experts analysed key energy development trends and made calculations for 11 macro-regions and basic sectors. Based on this, three main scenarios for the development of the global energy sector were proposed: “Business as usual” (BAU), “Net Zero” (NZ) and “Rational Technological Choice” (RTB).

According to Alexei Kulapin, further development of the global energy sector along the existing path is highly undesirable due to the irreversible consequences that will result from an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, to achieve an ideal energy transition under the “Net Zero” scenario would require large-scale expenditures, which are extremely difficult to find.

“It is estimated that to achieve this goal, investments in low-carbon energy sources would have to increase to 7-8 per cent of global GDP already in the coming years and remain at this level for the next decades. All of this makes such a scenario practically untenable without reducing investments in equally high-priority goals of socio-economic development,” emphasised the head of the REA of the Russian Ministry of Energy.

Vladimir Drebentsov, Chief Advisor to the Agency's Director General, gave a detailed description of each scenario and clearly demonstrated the forecasts of the global fuel and energy complex development on the relevant graphs.

According to the calculations, the primary consumption of liquid hydrocarbon fuels grows in the forecast period in the GHE scenario by 24% - up to 5.2 billion tonnes, while in the RTB and BS scenarios it decreases by almost 40% (up to 2.6 billion tonnes) and more than 70% (up to 1.2 billion tonnes), respectively.

In terms of natural gas prospects, natural gas consumption increases by 56% to 4.6 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (ttoe) in the WCS scenario, and by 26% to 3.7 billion ttoe in the RTB scenario. In the CHN scenario, gas consumption decreases by 53 % (to 1.4 billion tonnes of oil equivalent).

As for coal, its use is reduced by 32 per cent and 90 per cent in the RTB and CHN scenarios, respectively. In the WCS scenario, on the other hand, its primary consumption increases by 19% until 2050.

Renewable energy sources (RES) are developing faster than any other primary energy source. This is especially true for wind and solar energy, which are expected to grow more than 10 times. In the RTB scenario, the share of renewables in global consumption reaches 31 per cent, and in the PH scenario it reaches 50 per cent. At the same time, the total share of fossil hydrocarbon fuels in global primary fuel consumption decreases to 56% and 24% by 2050 in the RTB and PH scenarios, respectively.

The development of nuclear energy looks similar. Up to 2050, global electricity generation from nuclear power plants grows by 56% in the RTB scenario and by 166% in the PH scenario. Among the end-use trends, the rapid growth of electricity and hydrogen consumption stands out.

“I am confident that the scenarios we have developed will be in demand not only in the industry community, but will be useful for representatives of related industries,” added Alexei Kulapin.