September 11, 2018

Rapid electrification of energy demand and the rise of energy from wind and solar sources will lead to massive growth of the world’s electricity transmission and distribution systems. This is one of the main conclusions of DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook 2018: Power Supply and Use report, which provides an outlook of the global energy landscape up to 2050.
The report forecasts continuing rapid electrification, with electricity’s share of the total energy demand expected to more than double to 45% in 2050. This is driven by substantial electrification in the transport, buildings, and manufacturing sectors. In the transport sector, the uptake of private electric vehicles (EVs) will continue to escalate rapidly, with 50% of all new cars sold in 2027 in Europe expected to be EVs.
The surge in global electricity production will be powered by renewable sources accounting for an estimated 80% of global electricity production in 2050. As the costs for wind and solar continue to fall, those two energy sources are set to meet most of the electricity demand, with solar PV delivering 40% of electricity generation and wind energy 29%.
The rapid electrification will lead to major expansion of electricity transmission and distribution systems both in the length and capacity of transmission lines. DNV GL predicts that the total installed power line length and capacity will more than triple by 2050.
The system operators’ tasks will become substantially more complex; yet there may well be less energy flowing across the networks, resulting in fixed c Despite the positive outlook on the expansion of renewable energy and the electrification of key sectors, the energy transition will not be fast enough to meet global climate targets. In fact, DNV GL found that the first emission-free year will be 2090, if the energy transition continues at the pace predicted in its report. (Source: DNV GL – Image: US Department pf Energy)