Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson argues that while governments such as Ontario’s are making a big bet on renewable sources of energy, the reality is that oil and other fossil fuels are likely to remain dominant for decades.
From the Globe and Mail (“A renewable reality: Fossil fuels aren’t going anywhere“):
BP’s 65th Statistical Review of World Energy, a yearly signpost document used throughout the world, just came out showing how far renewable energies have come, but how very far they have to travel.
In 2015, world oil consumption was about 4.3 billion barrels; natural gas consumption was the equivalent of 3.1 billions barrels of oil, coal 3.8 billion and renewables 364 million.
Around the world, renewables account for only a sliver of energy consumption. The sliver is growing. In 2014 and 2015 renewables accounted for about half the world’s new power generating capacity. As the International Energy Agency reported, however, “supportive government policies and related subsides continue to be critical to the capacity deployed.” In other words, renewables are growing while still needing government help. …
Worldwide, renewables reached 2.8 per cent of energy consumption in 2015, up from 0.8 per cent a decade ago. Oil, by contrast, accounted for 32.9 per cent of global energy consumption, coal for 29.2 per cent and natural gas for 23.8 per cent. So the world relied on various fossil fuels for 85.9 per cent of its energy needs, compared with 2.8 per cent for renewables, according to the BP Statistical Review.
From renewables’ very low base, imagine how long it will take for them to become the dominant energy sources, as depicted in the Ontario drawing.