Energy Outlook / Nuclear Generation Could Increase By As Much As 80%, Says BP

By David Dalton
31 January 2023

Investment in new reactor capacity concentrated in China
Nuclear Generation Could Increase By As Much As 80%, Says BP
File photo of first concrete being poured at the Zhejiang nucler power station in China. Courtesy CGN.
Nuclear power generation could increase by as much as 80% globally by 2050 if policies are implemented that are consistent with maintaining global average temperature rises well below 2°C and 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in 2100, according to a new report.

The BP Energy Outlook 2023 says in its “accelerated” and “net zero” scenarios the pace and extent of decarbonisation are broadly in line with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios in which the future of global energy is dominated by four trends: declining role for hydrocarbons, rapid expansion in renewables, increasing electrification, and growing use of low-carbon hydrogen

The report says nuclear power generation increases by around 80% by 2050 in the accelerated scenario and more than doubles in the net zero scenario.

Investment in new nuclear capacity is concentrated in China – which accounts for 50-65% of the growth in nuclear power in both scenarios – supported by new capacity in other emerging economies and an extension of lifetimes and restarting of existing plants in some developed economies.

The Russia-Ukraine war will cause governments to implement policies to reduce their dependency on imported energy, the report says. This is modelled by adding a “security premium” of about 30% to the price of the energy imported into each region or country. This premium is increased to roughly 60% for energy imported by the EU given its particular exposure to war-related disruption and the need to reduce imports from Russia rapidly.

“The security premium imposed on imported energy increases the competitiveness of domestically produced energy, including renewables, nuclear and hydro power,” the report says.

Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, said the desire of countries to bolster their energy security by reducing their dependency on imported energy – dominated by fossil fuels – and instead have access to more domestically produced energy – much of which is likely to come from renewables and other non-fossil energy sources – suggests that the war is likely to accelerate the pace of the energy transition

Pen Use this content