Big Global Energy Data, the June issue of TerraJoule.us, reviews the profound changes taking place in the global energy system. This year’s release of the BP Statistical Review showed that coal’s collapse was much broader, and deeper, than many anticipated. Coal production and consumption was hit very hard in nearly all domains, especially China. Meanwhile, some truly astonishing data continued to flow from the combined wind and solar sectors, as they truly dominated in a year when global growth of electricity production advanced by only 0.9%. Is it any wonder therefore that global CO2 emissions have flattened the past three years? Confirming data already released by IEA in Paris, BP also shows that emissions barely grew in 2015. On the other side of the ledger, natural gas adoption continued to find strength in the US, the EU, and China. The world is growing a new dependency on natural gas—but the price does not reflect it—just yet. Finally, per previous speculations of TerraJoule.us, oil consumption in the OECD has bottomed. No blast off in OECD oil demand is imminent, but for the first time in 10 years, oil demand grew in the EU—by 1.5%. Newsflash: Europe is back from the dead.
In the second essay of this month’s issue, “Five Questions for Garvin Jabusch, of Green Alpha Advisors,” we consider the first round of losses already suffered by investors in fossil fuels, and speculate as to whether the next round of losses is near. While EV adoption remains slow, the learning rate of solar presses onward. To what extent are investors, even today, still not taking seriously the dislocations yet to come from quickly growing power generation from wind and solar?
In the continuously updating TerraJoule.us Global Grid Decarb Monitor, data for 2015 is radically revised to reflect the very slow growth in global power generation which was entirely dominated by new wind and new solar generation. The forecast for better overall growth in global power generation is maintained for 2016, and 2017.
Finally, The TerraJoule.us Transition Index, composed of 70% ETFs and 30% individual equities, fell slightly to 99.67, having started the new year at a notional value of 100. The Index plays a favored super-theme of TerraJoule.us: that the global economy is transitioning away from liquid fossil fuels, to the powergrid. And, that the costs of fossil fuel extraction and combustion increasingly place the energy-capture technologies of wind and solar power in a favorable position. Industrial names in the index continue to perform well in 2016, while the basket of solar equities continues to underperform.
–Gregor Macdonald, Editor of TerraJoule.us – A Journal of Energy Transition.