The energy transition in Europe
The shape of things to come by Kingsmill Bond, and Sam Butler-Sloss
In this presentation, we look beyond the current high stress at the long-term changes taking place in the European energy system. Europe is following the classic pattern of peak, plateau, and decline for fossil fuels. Decline started 15 years ago, and by the end of 2021, fossil fuel demand had already fallen by 22 percent.
Leading countries and sectors in Europe are already approaching 100 percent clean energy. Fossil fuels are in retreat in every single area of demand and supply. In 2021, 80 percent of total capital flows and 88 percent of electricity capital flows were already into clean energy.
Putin’s War has galvanized action on efficiency and the deployment of new energy technologies. The flows of new technology are on S-curves, which make these targets credible. As clean energy sectors move up the S-curve, this decade will see three to four times as much change as the past decade. Fossil fuel decline of 13 percent last decade will thus turn into a cliff, with a fall in fossil fuel demand this decade of up to 60 percent.
Although Europe is the first region to make the shift, others will learn from Europe’s experience and be able to transition faster.
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