The impact of COVID-19 on the energy transition

Jul 06, 2020 6 min read, pipeline

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By: Sverre Alvik, Energy Transition Program Director, DNV GL

The coronavirus pandemic will have a dramatic impact on energy supply and demand in the short term and will have lasting impacts once the pandemic dissipates. However, that will in itself do little to advance the world’s progress towards the Paris climate ambitions.

Energy use is strongly linked to economic activity, which has, and will continue to be, significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic: Our energy forecast is predicated on IMF’s longer outbreak scenario, where World GDP will shrink 6 per cent in 2020. The lingering effects of the pandemic will take the wind out of the sails of the world economy for many years – reducing World GDP in 2050 by 9 per cent, relative to pre-pandemic forecasts. Even with slower growth, however, by mid-century the world economy will still be twice its size today. In contrast, energy demand will not grow. In 2050, it will be about the same as it is today, in spite of a larger population and world economy. This is largely due to significant improvements in energy intensity, but also due to the effects of COVID-19.

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