BP says all other global energy crises pale in comparison to the year of Covid. These stats show why
LONDON — Oil and gas giant BP on Thursday published its benchmark Statistical Review of World Energy, describing 2020 “as a year like no other” due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global energy.
Over the past seven decades, BP said it had borne witness to some of the most dramatic episodes in the history of the global energy system, including the Suez Canal crisis in 1956, the oil embargo of 1973, the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
“All moments of great turmoil in global energy,” Spencer Dale, chief economist at BP, said in the report. “But all pale in comparison to the events of last year.”
To date, more than 185 million Covid-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with over 4 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual tally of Covid-19 infections and fatalities is believed to be far higher — and continues to rise.
The pandemic also led to massive economic loss, with global GDP estimated to have slipped by around 3.3% last year. That represents the largest peacetime recession since the Great Depression.
For global energy, the Covid pandemic has had a dramatic impact. Here are some of the highlights from the report:
BP said the coronavirus crisis last year resulted in primary energy and carbon emissions falling at their fastest rates since World War II. The relentless expansion of renewable energy, however, was found to be “relatively unscathed,” with solar power recording its fastest ever increase.
To be sure, the oil and gas company said world energy demand was estimated to have contracted by 4.5% and global carbon emissions from energy use by 6.3%.
“These falls are huge by historical standards — the largest falls in both energy demand and carbon emissions since World War II. Indeed, the fall of over 2 Gt of CO2 means that carbon emissions last year were back to levels last seen in 2011,” Dale said.
“It’s also striking that the carbon intensity of the energy mix — the average carbon emitted per unit of energy used — fell by 1.8%, also one of the largest ever falls in post-war history,” he added.
For some, the decline of global carbon emissions briefly raised hopes of so-called “peak carbon,” although desires of limiting global warming — and meeting a crucial target of the landmark Paris accord — are rapidly deteriorating.
It comes even as politicians and business leaders publicly acknowledge the necessity of transitioning to a low-carbon society, with policymakers under intensifying pressure to deliver on promises made as part of the Paris Agreement ahead of this year’s COP26.
“There are worrying signs that last year’s COVID-induced dip in carbon emissions will be short lived as the world economy recovers and lockdowns are lifted,” Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, said in the report.
“The challenge is to achieve sustained, comparable year-on-year reductions in emissions without massive disruption to our livelihoods and our everyday lives,” he added.
The Covid crisis triggered a historic oil demand shock in 2020, with Big Oil enduring a brutal 12 months by virtually every measure. The pandemic coincided with falling commodity prices, evaporating profits, unprecedented write-downs and tens of thousands of job cuts.
The torrent of bad news prompted the head of the International Energy Agency to suggest 2020 may come to represent the worst year in the history of oil markets.
BP said oil consumption fell by a record 9.1 million barrels per day, or 9.3%, last year, slipping to its lowest level since 2011.
Oil demand fell most in the U.S., contracting by 2.3 million barrels, followed by the EU and India, contracting 1.5 million barrels and 480,000 barrels, respectively.
BP said global oil production shrank by 6.6 million barrels, with oil producer group OPEC accounting for two-thirds of that decline.
The price of international benchmark Brent crude averaged $41.84 in 2020, the energy giant said, its lowest level since 2004. The oil contract was last seen trading at $73.70.
“Arguably, the single most important element of the energy system needed to address both aspects of the Paris Agreement — respond to the threat of climate change and support sustainable growth — is the need for rapid growth in renewable energy,” BP’s Dale said in the report.
Renewable energy, including biofuels and excluding hydro, rose by 9.7% in 2020, BP said. This was slower than the 10-year average of 13.4% year-on-year but the increment in energy terms was found to be similar to increases recorded in the years prior to the pandemic.
Solar electricity rose by record levels, however it was wind that was found to provide the largest contribution to renewables growth.
In terms of capacity, solar expanded by 127 gigawatts in 2020, while wind grew by 111 gigawatts — almost double its previous highest annual increase, BP said. “The main driver was China, which accounted for roughly half of the global increase in wind and solar capacity,” Dale said.
Reflecting on BP’s latest annual Statistical Review of World Energy, Dale said: “The importance of the past 70 years pales into insignificance as we consider the challenges facing the energy system over the next 10, 20, 30 years as the world strives to get to net zero.”
Elon Musk says Tesla has a ‘performance Cybertruck’
Elon Musk reveals that Tesla has a ‘performance Cybertruck’ – indicating that it could be one of the first versions of the electric pickup truck.
Tesla is on the verge of delivering the first Cybertruck.
Despite the automaker having produced likely hundreds of trucks and being about to start deliveries, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the electric pickup truck.
Tesla first unveiled the Cybertruck in 2019 and announced specs and pricing at the time, but the automaker is known to update its vehicles significantly from prototype to production. On top of it, the auto market has changed a lot since then, and that is expected to completely change the prices that Tesla announced for the Cybertruck.
Those expected changes have led to speculation about which Cybertruck models are going to be available, when, and at what prices.
We have recently seen evidence that at least some of Tesla’s Cybertruck release candidates are dual-motor powertrain trucks, which is leading people to believe that it might likely be the first
Now CEO Elon Musk is now adding some information into the mix by saying on X that he recently drove a “performance Cybertruck”:
I just drove the performance Cybertruck today and it kicks ass next-level.
This means that Tesla currently has a “performance” version of the Cybertruck, which could mean it could be amongst the first versions to come to market.
Tesla has previously announced a tri-motor version of the Cybertruck with the following specs:
- Tri Motor AWD with 500+ miles of range, 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds, top speed of 130 mph, and starting price of $69,900
That could certainly qualify as a “performance version”, but there have also been rumors of Tesla offering a potential quad-motor version of the Cybertruck, which could have even higher performance.
Tesla is expected to announce all the details of the Cybertruck at a delivery event, which could come within the next few weeks.
This 100 MPH ‘street legal’ 2-seater electric race car from China looks pretty legit
Most of the fun and funky vehicles I manage to dredge up for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week are big on weirdness but short on power. This time that seems to be reversed, as this electric race car is more wild than weird and comes with some seriously impressive performance.
This isn’t some slow crawling electric battle tank or ice-cream truck shaped like a VW bus. Those are more typical of this series on odd Chinese EVs, but this time we’re going all-in for extreme performance.
That means you’d better be ready to buckle in for speeds of up to 160 km/h (100 mph)! And based on some of these product photos, I wouldn’t mind buckling into the passenger seat for the first few rides.
Powering this little racer’s rear wheels is a 10 kW (13.5 hp) electric motor, which might not sound that powerful, but remember just how potent the low end torque from an electric motor is for rocketing off the line.
And since the entire vehicle only weighs 650 kg (1,433 lb), not to mention an extra 45 kg (100 lb) of cover girl model, there just isn’t that much mass here to be accelerated.
Plus the Chinese tend to rate motors with continuous power, not peak power. So there’s probably more kilowatts under the hood than we’re expecting. There’s no information on what kind of controller is powering that motor, but I’d wager that the peak power could be closer to 20 kW (27 hp).
There’s also a surprisingly large battery in this little racer, to the tune of 14.4 kWh. It’s a 96V pack built from LG lithium-ion cells and would give several American electric motorcycles a run for their money.
According to the vendor, it should be enough for 150 km (96 miles) of range per charge, though there’s no mention if that’s on a city street track or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Speaking of city streets, the company says that the vehicle is ECE certified and “can be legally driven on European streets”. I guess we’ll just have to take their word on that, unless someone wants to buy one of these and try it out themselves.
There’s no word on DOT-certification and so it’s likely not street legal in the US. But that might not stop someone from going full-‘Murica doing donuts in the local Krogers parking lot with their bald eagle riding shotgun.
If you want to get some skin in the game (eagle not included), it’s going to cost you a cool US $28,000. Or at least that would be the first payment. There’s no telling how much you’d have to fork over afterwards for ocean freight, import charges, taxes, and other add-on charges along the way.
But for anyone hoping to try their luck with the local European cops, it’s at least comforting to see that these vehicles seem to actually be in real production.
The vendor shared several images of what look like a sea of frames alongside several partially assembled race cars.
I’m not recommending anyone actually try to buy one of these from Alibaba. In fact, I’d probably recommend the opposite. Let’s just treat this as a fun window-shopping exercise.
But for the person who inevitably ignores my warnings (as many of my readers have been known to do) and plunks down some serious cash for one of these, let me know if and when it arrives. I will be there in a second to go for a ride with you!
This EV fast charging station tells you when its power is at its cheapest and greenest
This DC fast charging station tells EV drivers when renewable energy is at its peak in the grid – and thus when charging prices are cheapest.
The “Better Energy Charge” station in Sønderborg, Denmark, is owned by renewable energy company Better Energy. (It sits next to the company’s R&D solar park.)
What makes this charging station unique is its dynamic pricing model. It differs from traditional fixed pricing schemes because it incentivizes EV drivers with lower charging prices when renewable energy is at its peak on the grid.
The charging price, which is available the day before, follows the Danish energy spot prices. Similar to a gas station’s pricing signs, the EV charging station’s price board is visible from the road. (Why don’t all EV charging stations do this?)
“We want to encourage people to charge their cars when there is a lot of renewable electricity in the grid by making it cheaper when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing,” said Peter Munck Søe-Jensen, EVP of power solutions at Better Energy.
The Danish company feels its model helps drivers plan in advance to charge their EVs when energy is at its cheapest. And by charging EVs when solar and wind energy production is high, consumers can also increase the probability that it’s renewable, not fossil fuel-powered, energy.
What do you think of this model? Have you seen anything similar? Let us know in the comments below.
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