Forecasting energy trends is never easy. Now, after a rather challenging year, there are even more factors to count in. For instance:
- Pandemic restriction measures: lockdowns, remote working, curfews
- Employment rates and disposable income rates which will directly affect economic recovery
- Shifts in travel and trade
- Changes in demand for oil and natural gas, and renewable energy
- Fuel prices
- Impact of government-issued stimulus plans
Yet, a few fundamental trends that we can expect to see this 2021 are:
Global Energy Trends
- Energy demand to increase by 20% by 2040: Growing populations, more access to energy sources and higher standards of living will all lead to an inevitable demand increase. China and India will most likely account for nearly half of this demand growth.
- Natural Gas, Solar, and Wind Energy will be the fastest growing energy sources.
- Global carbon emissions will drop but not enough to stay below the 2°C goal: Pressure for new, better carbon capturing technologies will increase. See, Elon Musk offers $100 million to whoever invents the best carbon capturing tech.
Fossil Fuels Trends
- Coal will rise: Coal consumption is to rise slightly in 2021 due to economic recovery and increased electricity generation. Likewise, coal prices are to increase – as long as natural gas prices return to their pre-pandemic levels.
- Oil production might take time to recover: Before the pandemic struck, the oil industry was already going through a rough patch. However, by the second half of 2021, a more significant increase in production is expected, as crude oil prices rise.
Renewable Energy Trends
- Renewables will have a strong comeback: Lots of renewable energy projects that were postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic will be taking place in 2021. Although PV was one of the most severely impacted on 2020, it is seems to be the up-coming fastest growing source this 2021.
- The price of renewable electricity will continue to fall.
Undoubtedly, there is a long way to go until the energy industry fully recovers. Thus far, this recovery seems to be highly dependent on renewable and green energy sources, production and demand, accompanied by carbon capturing initiatives. However, if there is anything we learned in 2020, is that everything can change.