How will the energy structure change in the next 30 years?

In the next three decades, the landscape of global energy is poised for substantial transformation. The current surge in new energy is evident,

with electric vehicles dominating recent sales and public transportation shifting toward full electrification.

Yet, the perception that traditional gas stations are becoming obsolete may be premature, as petroleum and natural gas continue to be the primary energy sources.

Examining China’s energy consumption structure in 2022 reveals a significant reliance on coal, constituting 56.20% of total energy consumption. Petroleum follows at 17.90%, natural gas at 8.50%, and non-fossil energy at 17.40%.

While non-fossil energy, encompassing wind, solar, and hydrogen, is gradually gaining ground, coal and petroleum maintain their dominance.

Globally, coal, petroleum, and natural gas collectively command almost 90% of the energy market, reinforcing the notion that we are still entrenched in the “fossil energy era.”

Proportion of China’s primary energy consumption structure in 2022

Data source: “Energy Data Statistics of China Petroleum Economic and Technology Research Institute in 2023”

World primary energy consumption by category from 2000 to 2022

Data source: “Energy Data Statistics of China Petroleum Economic and Technology Research Institute in 2023”

Dean Ruquan Lu’s insights, shared on his “Spring Energy” public account, shed light on the transformative trajectory of China’s energy landscape.

Faced with the imperative “double carbon” goals—reaching carbon peak before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060,

China National Petroleum Corporation’s national high-end think tank gives predictions. As of the current projections,

the year 2030 paints a picture of a diverse yet fossil-fuel-heavy energy mix for China. Coal, petroleum, natural gas,

and non-fossil energy are anticipated to contribute approximately 42.00%, 18.00%, 12.00%, and 28.00% to the nation’s energy consumption, respectively.

Notably, fossil energy is expected to maintain a dominant presence, accounting for 70% of the total energy proportion.

Fast forward to 2060, and a seismic shift is forecasted. Coal’s substantial share is poised to plunge dramatically from 42.00% to a mere 5.00%,

reflecting a decisive move away from coal dependency. Petroleum, currently occupying 18.00%, is also expected to dwindle to 5.00%,

aligning with the broader global trend toward cleaner energy sources. Natural gas, with a predicted decline to 10.00%, mirrors this transition.

The most striking revelation is the ascendance of non-fossil energy, which is anticipated to surge to an impressive 80.00%, firmly establishing its dominance in China’s energy landscape.

Forecast the proportion of China’ s primary energy consumption structure in 2030 and 2060

Data source: According to the predictions of the national high-end think tank of China National Petroleum Corporation

It’s crucial to note that these changes are structural rather than quantitative. The world’s growing energy needs, fueled by ongoing industrialization, translate to increased consumption of petroleum and natural gas. China, as a major coal consumer, faces the challenge of balancing its energy mix. With an annual coal consumption of approximately 4.6 billion tons, the nation is highly dependent on chemical energy. Balancing the increasing demand with a focus on non-fossil energy sources will be imperative for China’s energy security.

As the “double carbon” goal’s constraints come into play, navigating these changes becomes not just a matter of energy transition but a strategic imperative for nations looking to secure a sustainable and resilient energy future.

In conclusion, the energy landscape over the next 30 years will witness transformative changes driven by technological innovation, evolving policies, and a collective global commitment to sustainability. While structural shifts are crucial, the success of this transition hinges on a holistic approach that encompasses technological advancements, supportive policies, and collaborative efforts across nations and industries.

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