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Weekly Highlights | Overview of Macro-Level Energy Trends and a Deep-Dive in Climate Innovations

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Statistical Review of World Energy 2021


  • Primary global energy consumption fell by 4.5% last year (largest annual decline since 1945). China was one of the rare exceptions (+2.1%)
  • Despite the sharp decline in oil consumption (75% of the total energy consumption decrease), oil remained on top with a 31.2% share of the energy mix
  • The global renewable energy consumption grew by 10% in 2020

2. More Power Lines or Rooftop Solar Panels: The Fight Over Energy’s Future

By New York Times

  • President Biden wants to build thousands of miles of power lines to move electricity created by distant wind turbines and solar farms
  • Environmental organizations are pushing for greater investment in rooftop solar panels, batteries and local wind turbines
  • The Congress will have to decide on the mix between the two solutions

3. Covid-19 in a golden age for mining

By Mining Technology

  • Australia’s mining sector represents a “bastion of stability and profitability amid the uncertain times of the Covid-19 pandemic”
  • Whilst the financial future of the company (Gold Fields Ltd) looks stable, its operations are set to be transformative
  • It is estimated that mining operations account for as much as 7% of all global carbon emissions. Renewable power is expected to be the tool driving the energy transition for this sector

4. Looking at the energy transition’s bigger picture

By PV Magazine

  • Very aggressive policies still need to be put in place to ensure at least 80% renewables by 2030, and 100% by 2050
  • The biggest obstacles right now are competing technologies being proposed, which are actually much less helpful than renewables (e.g. carbon capture, new nuclear power, bio energy, direct air capture, geoengineering)
  • The world has already 95% of the technologies commercialized and ready-to-go to become 100% renewables. What is missing is long-distance aircraft or ships, but they will be ready in the short-term

5. A breakdown of EU countries’ post-pandemic green spending plans

By Bruegel

  • Green investments bring the so called “triple dividends”: promoting economic growth, fostering job creation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Policymakers have set a 37% minimum target for spending on climate objectives under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the largest component of Next Generation EU
  • For the EU as a whole, ‘Recharge and Refuel’ (referring, broadly, to cleantech, buildings energy efficiency and sustainable transport) is the main green spending priority (~33% of total investments)

6. Innovation Will Drive the Energy Transition


  • Green investments need to be scaled up by around USD 5 trillion each year until 2050 to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement
  • The key investment goals are:
  • Renewable sources in primary energy will need to reach 74%
  • Renewable power generation must increase by around 800 GW each year, rising from 2,800 GW to 27,000 GW by 2050
  • Electric vehicle (EV) sales must grow from 4% to 100% of all vehicles sold by 2050
  • Clean hydrogen supply and use must grow five-fold, from 120 metric tonnes (Mt) per year to 613 Mt in 2050

7. Clean power standards: inside the plight of hydropower and nuclear

By Power Technology

  • Despite being low carbon-intensive, nuclear energy and hydropower lack the clean public perception of more conventional renewable energy sources: nuclear for its unsafe reputation, hydropower for its environmental damage
  • The European Commission recently updated its investment criteria for clean power projects, granting hydropower access to many of the same investment opportunities as other renewable sources
  • It is certainly possible that we will see nuclear recognised by frameworks (e.g. EU act), considering the similarities between nuclear and hydropower

8. Why The Green Transition Can’t Happen Without Natural Gas

By Forbes

  • As natural gas has competed with coal in the last decades, renewables are now putting pressure on the blue, clean-burning source of energy
  • Andrea Stegher, SVP at the Italian energy giant SNAM and Vice President of the IGU, explains that “Gas is not in competition with renewables, but the catalyst for and foundation of enhanced renewable capacity”
  • Given what we know about the state of technology and energy poverty around the world, gas should be around for many decades

9. Asia Pacific solar PV capacity to triple to 1,500 GW by 2030

By Wood Mackenzie

  • China will remain leader in the region and globally, adding 619 GW of solar PV capacity over this decade. Runner-up India is expected to add 138 GW by 2030. Japan and South Korea will follow as third and fourth to install respectively 63 GW and 58 GW
  • Indonesia is expected to be the fastest growing country, growing from a low base of 0.3 GW to 8.5 GW
  • By 2030, 51% of new installs in the top 10 Asia Pacific solar PV markets will be distributed solar due to land constraints and improving competitiveness against rising tariffs

10. Energy Was The Top-Performing Sector In The First Half Of 2021

By Forbes

  • After being the top S&P 500 sector for two straight quarters, the energy sector slipped to third place in the second quarter of 2021. But that was still good enough to keep it in first place among the sectors for the first half of 2021
  • First half of 2021 sector returns:
  • Highest-performing sectors: Energy (45.1%); Financial (25.5%); Real Estate (23.3%)
  • Lowest-performing sectors: Consumer Discretionary (11.4%); Consumer staples (5%); Utilities (2.4%)
  • S&P 500: 14.4%
  • Every subsector of the energy sector has outperformed the S&P 500 in 2021

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