When oil and gas major BP published its 2018 Energy Outlook last February, the group’s chief executive underlined in the report’s foreword that “a core theme” of this year’s edition “is the speed of the transition underway”.
Speaking to EURACTIV in Brussels this week, BP’s chief economist, Spencer Dale, went further, acknowledging that the company had made a “mistake” in evaluating the speed of the transition.
“We don’t pretend we haven’t made this mistake – we have made this mistake,” Dale admitted, saying BP has “revised up” its renewable energy growth forecasts as a result.
“A lot of the explanation is solar,” Dale pointed out, explaining that the impressive growth in solar PV worldwide followed a typical “learning curve” where the costs come down roughly by 25% every time solar capacity doubles.
“We haven’t been surprised by the steepness of that curve,” Dale pointed out, but rather by “how far along the curve” the world has got, particularly in China and India.
Last year, China saw “an unprecedented boom” in solar power, according to The ‘Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018’ report released by UN Environment and Bloomberg New Energy Finance in April.