Oil companies underestimate the growth of renewables, study says

The spread of affordable electric vehicles and solar polar could halt demand for fossil fuels, like coal and oil, by 2020, upsetting the goals of big energy companies who are looking to expand, according to a new study from the Grantham Institute.

The London-based institute, which produces research on the impacts of climate change, released a report on Feb. 1 that examines the impacts of renewable energy and electric cars on the world’s demand for oil and coal.  The report suggests that energy companies are underestimating the growth of technology that will decrease the demand for the fossil fuels they produce.

Growth in electric vehicles could cut global demand for oil by two million barrels per day by 2025, the study said. The study also predicted a loss of 16 million barrels per day by 2040 and 25 million barrels by 2050, findings that contradict the energy industry’s predictions that demand for oil will continue to grow.

The study compares its predictions for renewables and electric vehicle expansion to those of BP and Exxon Mobil.

For instance, the study expects solar power to supply nearly a fourth of the world’s power by 2040. Exxon has said it expects all renewables to account for 11 percent of the world’s power by 2040.  The study also suggests that electric vehicles could account for a third of road transportation by 2035, whereas BP’s 2017 outlook expects electric vehicles to account for six percent of the market by 2035.