Innovation and open markets key to meeting global energy demands


BHP Billiton says innovation, good governance, open markets and improved access to diverse sources of energy are the key components to achieving sustainable energy security for all the people around the globe.

BHP Billiton Image credit: User: Jason Rhodes
BHP Billiton
Image credit: User: Jason Rhodes

Speaking at the CERAWeek conference in Houston, BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie said sustainable energy security for the planet was achievable through unlocking the potential of renewables that would gradually reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

However, Mr Mackenzie stressed that genuine reliance on renewables would depend on the development of large-scale and cost-effective energy storage, and in the meantime, fossil fuels would remain central to the energy mix given their affordability and the scale of existing infrastructure.

“As we look to 2030 we anticipate over 70% of the world’s energy will still be supplied by oil, gas and coal. Gas is expected to see the strongest growth through wider use in power and transportation,” he said.

“But the shale gas revolution is unlikely to go global quickly. And despite what many claim, we are unlikely to see gas replace coal globally at the scale and pace seen here in the US. Costs and security of supply mean most places will favour the use of local resources to meet their energy requirements.”

According to the news release by BHP Billiton, one fifth of the world’s population still lacks access to modern energy. It is expected that in the next 20 years over 1.7 billion people from developing nations around the world will gain access to electricity for the first time.

Mr Mackenzie said open market policies would improve energy security and help developing nations transition into vibrant consumer economies.

“By diversifying the supply of resources and making technology more widely available, open markets will also help countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change over the long term. We must address energy poverty and climate change together. Any attempt to solve one without the other is destined to fail,” said Mr Mackenzie.

He added that the resource industry had a responsibility to reduce its own emissions, organize constructive public policy debates and provide technical and geological expertise to help with the development of large-scale carbon storage solution.

“Efficiency should be the priority for all of us, industry and consumer alike. It is by far the largest and lowest-cost driver of CO2 reduction over the next two decades,” Mr Mackenzie said.

“With innovation, good governance and open markets, we can supply the resources the world needs, deliver returns to our owners, address energy poverty and improve the world’s ability to solve complex global issues like climate change.”