by Jerome a Paris
Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 04:41:31 AM EST
Every year, energy giant ExxonMobil presents its own "Outlook for Energy", its view of the world's energy future until 2030. Although ExxonMobil's outlook is based on essentially the same historical data as similar "outlook" reports from the International Energy Agency in Paris and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in Washington, it offers in many ways a different - and fascinating - perspective on the world. It may well be - although this is something no one can say for sure - a more realistic, anticipatory vision than the one offered by the "official" energy institutions.
The realists at ExxonMobil, unsurprisingly, see continued dominance of fossil fuels over the next 25 years - coming mainly from growth in emerging markets as rich countries. There's a lot of interesting data in the full report (6MB PDF!), but I especially like this graph:
Source: European Energy Review
In dotted lines: the price of coal- and gas-fired electricity without any carbon pricing. Note that this is based on unknown fuel price hypotheses, but given how the report writes about the abundance of natural gas, one can expect them not to be too high...
Click for larger version
In other words, wind power is already amongst the cheapest source of electricity, and if any minimal accouting for some externalities is put in place (such as a price for carbon emissions), it becomes the cheapest. Of course, as we know, "cheapest" does not necessarily translate into "most profitable."
And as an aside, they are also sayign that carbon capture will never make any kind of sense.
And it's not me saying it, but ExxonMobil.
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