The recent developments in sustainable power generation from wind and solar in many parts of the United States, for example, Texas, and around the globe have driven a few pundits to foresee the death of fossil fuels. In a related improvement, the introduction of the likelihood of monstrous electrification of the transportation sector (as the electric car) has prompted projections that oil will lose its place as the overwhelming transportation fuel. These expectations are exceptionally far-fetched.
Most target projections demonstrate that dependence on fossil fuels is both necessary and financial under practically every situation that equalizations growing energy demand with available supply. Policymakers require in this manner to assert that the dependence on petroleum products will precede with well into the future for both power generation and transportation.
Fossil Fuels are an incredibly dense form of energy, and they took millions of years to become so. Fossil Fuels, as the name suggest, are extremely old. North Sea oil stores are around 150 million years of age, while a lot of Britain coal started to frame more than 300 million years back. In spite of the fact that people most likely utilized non-renewable energy sources in ancient times, as far back as the Iron Age1, the Industrial Revolution prompted their wide-scale extraction.
Furthermore, in the brief timeframe from that point forward – a little more than 200 years – we have consumed an incredible amount of them, leaving fossil fuels all but gone and the climate seriously impacted. Furthermore, when they are gone, they are gone practically until the end of time. Clearly, fossil fuel reserves are limited – it is just a matter of when they run out.
All-inclusive, we right now expend more than 11 billion tons of oil in non-renewable energy sources. Crude oil reserves are vanishing at the rate of 4 billion tones a year – if we carry on at this rate without any concerns for our growing population or aspirations, our known oil deposits will be gone by 2052.
Regardless we will have gas left, and coal as well. Nevertheless, if we increase gas production to fill the energy gap left by oil, then those reserves will only give us an additional eight years, taking us to 2060. Yet, the rate at which the world consumes fossil fuels is not stopping, it is increasing as the world’s population increases and as living standards rise in parts of the world that until recently had consumed very little energy. Fossil Fuels will therefore run out earlier.
It is repeatedly emphasised that we have enough coal to last several years. However, if we step up production to fill the gap left through depleting our oil and gas reserves, the coal deposits we know about will only give us enough energy to take us as far as 2088. In addition, let us not even think of the carbon dioxide emissions from burning all that coal. So does 2088 stamp the point that we run out of fossil fuels? The straightforward answer is no!
Some new reserves will be discovered which will help develop this due date marginally, however these cannot keep going forever. New reserves of fossil fuels are becoming harder to find, and those that are being discovered are significantly smaller than the ones that have been found in the past.
Take oil, for instance, we are most likely as of now on a descending slant. Sixteen of the world’s twenty biggest oil fields have already reached their peak level of production (the point at which they are producing their largest annual oil yield), whilst the golden age of oil field discovery was nearly 50 years ago.
Renewables offer us another way, an approach to keep away from this (fossil fuelled) energy time bomb, however we should we begin now. As the Saudi Oil Minister said in the 1970s, “The Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil.”