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Recommendations of the Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions
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Fossil fuel resources
Remaining technically recoverable fossil fuel resources, end-2019

 

Oil (billion barrels)Proven reservesResourcesConventional crude oilTight oilNGLsEHOBKerogen oil
North America 2382 4162392171607991 000
Central and South America292860 2555949 4933
Europe1511458192836
Africa12544630654842-
Middle East8871 1468952917814 30
Eurasia146945232855855218
Asia Pacific502791247264316
World1 7536 2062 1095366221 8661 073
Natural gas (trillion cubic metres)Proven reservesResourcesConventional gasTight gasShale gasCoalbed methane
North America171495010817
Central and South America884281541-
Europe546185185
Africa191015110400
Middle East81121101911-
Eurasia70169131101017
Asia Pacific2113945215320
World22180942580253 49
Coal (billion tonnes)Proven reservesResourcesCoking coalSteam coalLignite
North America2578 3891 0315 8391 519
Central and South America146033225
Europe137982166413403
Africa15343452970
Middle East1411923-
Eurasia1912 0153431 041 632
Asia Pacific4618 9541 5096 0371 428
World1 07620 8033 11513 6824 007

Notes: NGLs = natural gas liquids; EHOB = extra-heavy oil and bitumen. The breakdown of coal resources by type is an IEA estimate. Coal world resources exclude Antarctica. Source: IEA World Energy Outlook 2021

The World Energy Outlook (WEO) supply modelling relies on estimates of the remaining technically recoverable resource, rather than the (often more widely quoted) numbers for proven reserves. Resource estimates are subject to a considerable degree of uncertainty, as well as the distinction in the analysis between conventional and unconventional resource types.

Overall, the remaining technical recoverable resources of fossil fuels remain almost unchanged from the World Energy Outlook-2020. All fuels are at a level comfortably sufficient to meet the projections of global energy demand growth to 2050 in all scenarios.

The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed exploration and reserve replacement ratios, although there has been an upward revision to Middle East proven reserves by around 50 billion barrels compared with the WEO-2020. Remaining technically recoverable resources of US tight oil (crude plus condensate) in this Outlook are unchanged, totalling more than 200 billion barrels. Natural gas resource numbers remain broadly similar to those of last year. Most of the proven reserves lie in the Middle East and Eurasia.

World coal resources are made up of various types of coal: around 80% is steam and coking coal and the remainder is lignite. Coal resources are more available in parts of the world without substantial gas and oil resources, notably in Asia.

Overall, the gradual depletion of resources (at a pace that varies by scenario) means that operators have to develop more difficult and complex reservoirs. This tends to push up production costs over time, although this effect is offset by the assumed continuous adoption of new, more efficient production technologies and practices.

Electricity generation technology costs
Technology costs in selected regions in the Stated Policies Scenario
Capital costs
(USD/kW)
Capacity factor
(%)
Fuel, CO2, and O&M
(USD/MWh)
LCOE
(USD/MWh)
VALCOE
(USD/MWh)
202020302050 202020302050 202020302050 202020302050 202020302050
United States
Nuclear 5 0004 8004 500 909090 303030 10510095 10510095
Coal 2 1002 1002 100 506060 252525 757070 757065
Gas CCGT 1 0001 0001 000 504540 303540 506570 506060
Solar PV 1 100710530 212222 101010 503030 554045
Wind onshore 1 3901 3101 270 424344 101010 353030 353540
Wind offshore 4 0402 5601 920 424648 352515 1157055 1107060
European Union
Nuclear 6 6005 1004 500 757575 353535 150125110 145125110
Coal 2 0002 0002 000 354040 90120135 170185200 160165165
Gas CCGT 1 0001 0001 000 453525 80105115 110140170 100115115
Solar PV 840550430 131414 101010 554030 607070
Wind onshore 1 5001 4201 370 292930 151515 504545 556060
Wind offshore 3 4802 2601 720 515558 151010 754535 755045
China
Nuclear 2 8002 8002 500 808080 252525 656560 656560
Coal 800800800 554540 456075 608095 607070
Gas CCGT 560560560 252020 8090100 100120130 9010595
Solar PV 650420310 171819 1055 352015 404550
Wind onshore 1 2601 1901 140 292727 151510 504540 505045
Wind offshore 2 8002 8002 800 344043 251510 1005535 1006040
India
Nuclear 2 8002 8002 800 758080 303030 707070 707070
Coal 1 2001 2001 200 606050 303530 555555 555550
Gas CCGT 700700700 455045 757580 909095 908075
Solar PV 600380270 202121 555 352015 403555
Wind onshore 1 0401 0201 000 262829 101010 504540 555050
Wind offshore 2 9801 9601 440 323638 252015 1358055 1358565

Notes: O&M = operation and maintenance; LCOE = levelised cost of electricity; VALCOE = value-adjusted LCOE; kW = kilowatt; MWh = megawatt-hour; CCGT = combined-cycle gas turbine. Cost components, LCOE and VALCOEs figures are rounded. Lower values for VALCOE indicate improved competitiveness. Source: IEA WEO-2021.

Technology costs in selected regions in the Announced Pledges Scenario
Capital costs
(USD/kW)
Capacity factor
(%)
Fuel, CO2, and O&M
(USD/MWh)
LCOE
(USD/MWh)
202020302050 202020302050 202020302050 202020302050
United States
Nuclear 5 0004 8004 500 908580 303030 105105105
Coal 2 1002 1002 100 3010n.a. 65125155 150410n.a.
Gas CCGT 1 0001 0001 000 5025n.a. 406575 65110n.a.
Solar PV 1 100660460 212223 101010 503025
Wind onshore 1 3901 2901 220 424344 101010 353030
Wind offshore 4 0402 4401 680 424648 352015 1157045
European Union
Nuclear 6 6005 1004 500 757570 353535 150120115
Coal 2 0002 0002 000 25n.a.n.a. 105165210 200n.a.n.a.
Gas CCGT 1 0001 0001 000 5040n.a. 7095105 95120n.a.
Solar PV 840530380 131414 101010 553530
Wind onshore 1 5001 4101 340 292930 151515 504545
Wind offshore 3 4802 2401 540 515558 151010 754530
China
Nuclear 2 8002 8002 500 808080 252525 656560
Coal 800800800 55455 4595150 60115290
Gas CCGT 560560560 252525 80105115 100125135
Solar PV 650400270 171819 1055 352015
Wind onshore 1 2601 1801 110 292727 151510 504540
Wind offshore 2 8001 8201 120 344043 251510 1005535
India
Nuclear 2 8002 8002 800 758080 303030 707070
Coal 1 2001 2001 200 606050 303530 555560
Gas CCGT 700700700 455045 757580 909095
Solar PV 600360240 202121 555 352015
Wind onshore 1 0401 010990 262829 101010 504540
Wind offshore 2 9801 8801 260 323638 251510 1357550

Notes: O&M = operation and maintenance; LCOE = levelised cost of electricity; kW = kilowatt; MWh = megawatt-hour; CCGT = combined-cycle gas turbine; n.a. = not applicable. Cost components and LCOE figures are rounded. Source: IEA WEO-2021.

Technology costs in selected regions in the Sustainable Development Scenario
Capital costs
(USD/kW)
Capacity factor
(%)
Fuel, CO2, and O&M
(USD/MWh)
LCOE
(USD/MWh)
202020302050 202020302050 202020302050 202020302050
United States
Nuclear 5 0004 8004 500 909080 303030 105105105
Coal 2 1002 1002 100 3010n.a. 65125155 150410n.a.
Gas CCGT 1 0001 0001 000 5025n.a. 406575 65110n.a.
Solar PV 1 100640440 212223 101010 503025
Wind onshore 1 3901 2801 200 424344 101010 353030
Wind offshore 4 0402 4201 660 424648 352015 1157045
European Union
Nuclear 6 6005 1004 500 757570 353535 150120115
Coal 2 0002 0002 000 25n.a.n.a. 105165210 200n.a.n.a.
Gas CCGT 1 0001 0001 000 5040n.a. 7095105 95120n.a.
Solar PV 840510370 131414 101010 553530
Wind onshore 1 5001 3901 310 292930 151515 504545
Wind offshore 3 4802 2201 520 515558 151010 754530
China
Nuclear 2 8002 8002 500 808080 252525 656560
Coal 800800800 55455 4565115 80135290
Gas CCGT 560560560 303030 80100115 100120135
Solar PV 650380230 171819 1055 352015
Wind onshore 1 2601 1601 090 292727 151510 504540
Wind offshore 2 8001 7601 100 344043 251510 1005535
India
Nuclear 2 8002 8002 800 758080 303030 707070
Coal 1 2001 2001 200 504020 303030 556595
Gas CCGT 700700700 505510 604545 7560125
Solar PV 600340230 202121 555 352015
Wind onshore 1 040990960 262829 101010 504540
Wind offshore 2 9801 8001 220 323638 251510 1357550

Notes: O&M = operation and maintenance; LCOE = levelised cost of electricity; kW = kilowatt; MWh = megawatt-hour; CCGT = combined-cycle gas turbine; n.a. = not applicable. Cost components and LCOE figures are rounded. Source: IEA WEO-2021.

Major contributors to the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) include: overnight capital costs; capacity factor that describes the average output over the year relative to the maximum rated capacity (typical values provided); cost of fuel inputs; plus operation and maintenance. Economic lifetime assumptions are 25 years for solar PV, and onshore and offshore wind.

Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) reflects analysis for utility-scale solar PV in the World Energy Outlook 2020, with a range of 3-6%, and for offshore wind from the Offshore Wind Outlook 2019, with a range of 4-7%. Onshore wind was assumed to have the same WACC as utility-scale solar PV. A standard WACC was assumed for nuclear power, coal- and gas-fired power plants (7-8% based on the stage of economic development).

The value-adjusted levelised cost of electricity (VALCOE) incorporates information on both costs and the value provided to the system. Based on the LCOE, estimates of energy, capacity and flexibility value are incorporated to provide a more complete metric of competitiveness for electricity generation technologies.

All electricity generation technology costs for the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario are from the Net Zero by 2050 report and remain in USD 2019.

Fuel, CO2 and O&M costs reflect the average over the ten years following the indicated date in the projections (and therefore vary by scenario in 2020).

Solar PV and wind costs do not include the cost of energy storage technologies, such as utility-scale batteries.

The capital costs for nuclear power represent the “nth-of-a-kind” costs for new reactor designs, with substantial cost reductions from the first-of-a-kind projects.

Other key technology costs
Stated Policies Announced Pledges Sustainable Development Net Zero Emissions by 2050
2020 20302050 20302050 20302050 20302050
Buildings (USD/kW)
Air source heat pumps
Advanced economies 610 570490 530400 530390 520370
Emerging market and developing economies 320 300260 300220 280210 280200
Industry (USD/tpa)
Primary steel production
Conventional 640 650660 650670 650680 650680
Innovative n.a. 1 4001 050 1 330980 1 020910 980900
Vehicles (USD/vehicle)
Hybrid cars 15 710 14 28013 110 14 10011 750 13 51012 100 13 49012 090
Innovative 21 760 15 37013 210 14 92013 010 14 74012 680 14 52012 590
Batteries and hydrogen
Hydrogen electrolysers
(USD/kW)
1 480 850630 590430 560410 460360
Utility-scale stationary batteries (USD/kWh) 310 180130 170120 170115 155110
Fuel cells (USD/kW) 110 5839 5032 4931 4328

Notes: kW = kilowatt; tpa = tonne per annum; kWh = kilowatt-hour; n.a. = not applicable. All values are in USD (2020). Sources: IEA analysis; Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2020); Cole et al (2020); Tsiropoulos et al (2018).

  • All costs represent fully installed/delivered technologies, not solely the module cost, and includes engineering, procurement and construction costs to install the module.
  • Industry costs reflect production costs in the iron and steel sub-sector and differentiate between conventional and innovative production routes. Conventional routes are blast furnace- basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) and direct reduced iron-electric arc furnace (DRI-EAF). The innovative routes are Hisarna with CCUS, DRI-EAF with CCUS and hydrogen-based DRI-EAF. Costs for conventional primary steel increase over time reflecting a growing shift toward DRI-EAF in new capacity, which is more capital intensive.
  • Vehicle costs reflect production costs, not retail prices, to better reflect the cost declines in production, which move independently of final marketed prices for electric vehicles to customers.
  • Utility-scale stationary battery costs reflect the average installed costs of all battery systems rated to provide maximum power output for a four-hour period.
  • Electrolyser costs reflect a projected weighted average of installed electrolyser technologies, including inverters. However, inverter costs are not included in the WEO modelling of non-grid connected electrolysers.
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