Nuclear Politics

Nuclear Will Continue To Grow, But Less Rapidly, Says BP Energy Outlook

By David Dalton
18 February 2019

Nuclear Will Continue To Grow, But Less Rapidly, Says BP Energy Outlook
The Flamanville-3 nuclear power plant, which is nearing completion in northern France. Photo courtesy EDF.

18 Feb (NucNet): Nuclear generation will continue to grow until 2040, although less rapidly than overall power generation, with its share of overall power generation declining, the latest edition of BP’s Energy Outlook report says.

In one scenario, which assumes that government policies, technology and social preferences continue to evolve in a manner and speed seen over the recent past, nuclear power grows at an average rate of 1.1% a year, broadly in line with the growth seen over the past 20 years or so.

However, the continuing growth in nuclear power disguises two contrasting patterns, the report says. Nuclear energy within the 36 countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development declines materially over the period as aging nuclear plants are decommissioned and there is limited investment in new capacity. In contrast, nuclear generation in China increases strongly, rising by 1,000 TWh until 2040 with the level of nuclear generation in China by 2040 similar to that in the entire OECD.

In another scenario, the mix of fuels in global power generation shifts materially, with renewables gaining share at the expense of coal, nuclear and hydro.

Improvement in living standards could cause energy demand to increase by around a third over the period of the report, driven by India, China and other countries in Asia, which together account for two-thirds of the increase. Despite this increase in energy demand, around two-thirds of the world’s population in 2040 still live in countries where average energy consumption per head is relatively low, highlighting the need for more energy.

Energy consumed within industry and buildings accounts for around three-quarters of the increase in energy demand.

Growth in transport demand slows sharply relative to the past, as gains in vehicle efficiency accelerate. The share of passenger vehicle kilometres powered by electricity increases to around 25% by 2040, supported by the growing importance of fully-autonomous cars and shared-mobility services.

The 2019 Energy Outlook is online:

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