Over 50 per cent of the expected rise in global energy demand over the next twenty five years will be met by oil and gas, according to new forecasts by the International Energy Agency. However wind and solar energy could meet a substantially greater proportion of global demand by 2030 if the right policies are put in place.

Under the IEA’s business-as-usual scenario, renewable only grows from 8% in 2003 to 9% in 2030. Because of this, the world could start seeing energy short-falls as soon as 2010, according to GWEC, the global wind industry trade association. In a report entitled “Plugging the Gap“, it says the combined oil and gas supply shortfall could reach 10% by 2020 and climb to 18% by 2030.

“Eventually, this gap will be filled by a mix of technologies ranging from renewables, coal and nuclear,” says GWEC. But it believes that wind power, as a “safe, carbon-neutral, economic and indigenous energy resource, is the best choice to fill the electricity generation gap”.

GWEC says it expects global wind generation capacity to double by 2010 (from 60 gigawatts to 135 GW). But it says the figure could be boosted to 1,000 GW in 2020. “This potential is technically realisable”, says GWEC, “if significant policy changes are implemented”.

The report concludes “There will be no such thing as a ‘business as usual’ future. An unforeseen potential will become available to wind energy as a result of gas supply
limitations. Up to 1200GW of extra capacity could potentially be installed by 2030”.

You could disagree and say there is such a thing as a business-as-usual future: but it includes higher gas prices, power shartages, more oil wars, increased insecurity and terrorism.

Time to try something new?