The Mediterranean Energy Observatory (OME) has published a document presenting energy scenarios for the period to 2040.
The 2018 Mediterranean Energy Perspectives (MEP) is an in-depth analysis of the energy sector in the region from now until 2040. The document is published by the OME, a Paris-based association of the principal energy companies operating in the Mediterranean basin. It tackles issues of fundamental importance for the region and considers its economic and environmental future.
The meeting at which the publication was presented, on 4 April 2018, at Eni’s HQ in San Donato Milanese, was attended by Lapo Pistelli, Eni’s director of international relations, Houda Allal, OME director general, Lisa Guarrera, director of the OME Modelling & Monitoring Division, and Sohbet Karbuz, director of the OME Hydrocarbons Sector. The 2018 edition of the MEP presents two energy scenarios. They cover all aspects of the energy industry, based on a model that takes into account the commitments made at the most recent climate conferences in respect of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency:
Ongoing trends in energy consumption will lead to a 40 per cent increase in demand across the region as a whole, while around the Mediterranean basin’s southern shores it is expected to more than double. The energy trajectory must therefore be changed by encouraging implementation of the NDCs, following through on both energy-efficiency measures and targets for the deployment of renewable energy. In a proactive scenario, energy demand would be curtailed to a maximum increase of 13 per cent by 2040. The energy mix would remain fossil-fuel based, but the share of such fuels could be reduced from the current two-thirds of the total to just over half by 2040.
There will be increasing reliance on natural gas production, which has nearly doubled since 1990 and will reach its peak in 2037 before declining to 300 billion m3 in 2040. The region’s gas export potential will further increase over the next two decades. The strong increase in demand for gas over the past 20 years has had an impact on the region’s energy mix; the share of gas as a percentage of total energy demand increased from 15 per cent in 1990 to 27 per cent in 2015. This is expected to increase further by 2040. Power generation will remain the largest gas-consuming sector in the region.
Technological, social, economic and political trends have combined to make this a time of exciting innovation for electricity systems across the Mediterranean. The centralised grid remains a dependable mainstay but faces a period of unprecedented growth and evolution as large-scale renewables and distributed energy resources come online and place new demands on grid functionality.
Until the early 2000s, renewable-energy technologies were near non-existent in the Mediterranean region, apart from hydropower, biomass and ─ to a lesser extent ─ geothermal. Between 2000 and 2015, non-hydro renewables more than doubled their output. Renewables currently stand at a little over 100 Mtoe – about 11 per cent of total Mediterranean energy supply. Renewable technologies already predominate in electricity generation and have an energy capacity greater than that of natural gas. By 2040, more than two-thirds of the cumulative installed capacity in the proactive scenario (588GW) will be renewable. This implies adding new renewables capacity of 16GW per annum over the next 22 years.
Around €3 trillion will be needed between 2018 and 2040 to cover all the Mediterranean region’s investment needs. Technological innovations and new methods of financing are making renewable energy more accessible with, for instance, the cost of solar now rivalling that of new thermal power plants. The challenge will be to develop new financing structures to provide the clean energy industry with greater access to capital to grow and deploy renewable technologies on a vast scale and to finance energy efficiency measures.
In the proactive scenario, lower demand and decarbonised power generation will lead to a 4 per cent drop in current levels of CO2 emissions (compared with a 36 per cent increase if current trends continue). Over and above the environmental benefits, infrastructure requirements and energy bills will be reduced, while the region’s energy security will be strengthened: this last will fall to 24 per cent as early as 2030, as against 44 per cent at present. This will also reduce geopolitical tensions and stimulate job creation, which will enhance social welfare throughout the region.
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