The Future of Global Energy: Hydrogen, Biofuel, and Renewable Energy

On 2 October 2019, on the first day of the Russian Energy Week International Forum, S&P Global Platts organized a panel session entitled ‘Global Energy Industry Development Outlook to 2040’. Representatives of international and domestic industry and energy companies’ management, industry experts took part in the discussion of relevant issues of energy markets.

 S&P Global Platts is a leading independent news agency specializing in publishing price quotes of commodity and energy markets. During the discussion, agency representatives spoke about the long-term outlook on energy development.

Global Head of Analytics of S&P Global Platts Chris Midgley, moderator of the panel session, brought up the most probable long-term prospects for the development of the worldwide energy market, with consideration to environmental challenges. Among them, he listed the advancing substitution of coal energy consumption with renewable, a solution to the batteries recycling problem, the transition from internal combustion engines to electric and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.

Tim Gould, Head of Energy Supply and Investment Outlooks Division of Directorate for Sustainability, Technology and Outlooks of International Energy Agency (IEA) spoke about the prospects of alternative sources of electricity in the context of geopolitical challenges. In particular, he noted the projected increase of the urban population in China and Africa over the next few decades. It leads to the development of industries tied to this trend and, as a result, a significant increase in electricity demand. Due to the limited sources of power supply, renewable energy sources can become an essential source of power generation here, Tim Gould predicts.

Abderrezak Benyoucef, Head of the Energy Studies Department of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), predicts a global increase in electricity demand. “Today, we are registering a 30% increase in demand compared to 2015, and by 2040, one way or another, this trend is here to stay. In such a situation, the use of the entire spectrum of energy sources is inevitable, but with an emphasis on cleaner and environmentally friendly kinds,” noted Mr. Benyoucef.

Denis Deryushkin, Head of Analytical Centre of the Russian Energy Agency of the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, raised the topic of using nuclear and hydrogen fuel in Russia. “One of our core competencies is a nuclear power. At that, we export technology along with energy. We are involved in many large-scale projects. Out of ten nuclear power plants being built abroad, eight are completely based on Russian technologies. Thus, we certainly dominate the new nuclear power markets, and this is in line with our general energy strategy. As for the use of hydrogen technologies, several pilot projects are being implemented in Russian companies. We are interested in economically feasible breakthrough solutions,” said Denis Deryushkin.

Elena Anankina, Senior Analytic Director of Ratings and Infrastructure at S&P Global Ratings spoke about green energy and corporate responsibility. “When we evaluate the credit quality of a company, their financial standing, we look at how sustainable their business is in terms of environmental, social and administrative risks. We believe that the impact of these risks is growing every year. It is even more apparent for oil and gas and the electric power industries. Global companies usually publish sustainable development reports and invest significant funds in green energy. Some companies even tie the achievement of environmental goals to top management compensation. Shell is a good example. Russia is at the very early stages of this process. There is the first case of green bonds issued by Russian Railways to finance investments in the electrification of railways,” said Elena Anankina.

The panel session also touched upon the sprouting use of associated gas and energy efficient technologies, the petrochemical industry recycling effort, and improving the quality of waste processing.

The Russian Energy Week is organized by the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation and the Roscongress Foundation with the support of Moscow Government.