There is not ‘one solution’ that fixes our energy crisis
As BP’s 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy pictures primary energy demand in 2021 eclipsed 2019 suggesting the world’s demand for energy is now higher than before the pandemic and the usage of fossil fuels (82%) is only slightly down compared to five years ago (85%). We very much still live in a fossil fuel based economy. Things will change over time and the share of fossil fuels will likely decline, but the idea that the world can do the green transformation by electrifying everything based on renewable energy sources is naïve. Investors should also remember that the change in primary energy demand is mostly driven by the non-OECD countries. Renewable energy does not scale fast enough for a complete transition due to the speed on electrification and recently the CEOs of Orsted and Vestas complained about bureaucracy related to get new offshore wind power projects approved.
The recent Climate & Tax Bill is acknowledging that we will need oil and gas for longer than expected just three years ago and thus our current energy crisis will allow both renewable energy and fossil fuel energy to be good investments in parallel. Renewable energy is the third best theme basket this year while the commodities basket (which includes oil & gas and mining companies) is the best performer.
Our view of the future of energy is that there is no ‘one solution’ to our energy problem. We must move to a mindset of energy diversification. We will need many different sources of energy and never rely too much on one source. Germany’s reliance on natural gas for its economic model has proved fragile. Even France’s concentrated bet on nuclear power has proved to be fragile due to corrosion and now too hot rivers. The world must invest in all types of energy and thus our view is that investors mut get broad exposure to energy going forward.