Calgary, Canada — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 08 April 2011 – Natural gas will become the world’s most used fuel as countries make the transition to renewable sources, and that points to long-term gains in shares of gas producers, a newly established Canadian investment bank has stated.
In a report released here, AltaCorp Capital Incorporated said that without heavy subsidies most renewable energy was currently too expensive to make a major dent in the use of fossil fuels, which could remain the main energy source into the next century.
AltaCorp analyst John Mawdsley, the report’s author, said that should not discourage development of technology to make solar, wind and bio-fuel less expensive, but he added that gas companies should benefit in the meantime.
“We need to be clear that we’re going to be driven to use hydrocarbons for a long time yet,” Mawdsley said in an interview. “Coal, natural gas and petroleum account for 84% of energy use globally and we need to know how to use those in the best way possible,” he added.
“We’re not promoting the use of hydrocarbons, we’re just stating the way it is. But also we need to start moving to renewable energy."
Consumers must also improve energy conservation, he said.
Mawdsley described what he called "the tragedy of hydrocarbons", in which society keeps depleting the resources due to their convenience and relative low cost, despite the detrimental effects on the environment. This would eventually force a painful shift to renewables.
As governments push renewable technology and the prospect of green jobs, companies are promoting natural gas. They tout its lower carbon emissions and lower cost compared with oil, and aim for more gas use for power generation and as a transport fuel.
The report shows that gas currently accounts for 22.6% of global energy consumption, compared with oil at 35% and coal at 26.7%. Renewables make up 10.%, mostly from hydroelectric power which makes up 6.1% of total consumption. Nuclear power accounts for 5.5 percent of global energy consumption.