Guest Post: Shell Predicts That Natural Gas Or Solar Will Become The No. 1 Energy Source

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Kennedy of,

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) has just released new forecasts for its ‘New Lens Scenarios’ program, which aims to predict how current business decision and policies may unfold over time and affect the markets in the future.

Peter Voser, the CEO of Shell, explained that the scenarios “highlight the need for business and government to find ways to collaborate, fostering policies that promote the development and use of cleaner energy and improve energy efficiency.”

The scenarios take two different approaches: one considers the world with a high level of government involvement, and the other looks at the markets when they are given more freedom to develop naturally.

With high government involvement in dictating energy and policies, Shell believes that natural gas will flourish to become the number one energy source in the world over the next couple of decades, overtaking coal and helping to reduce carbon emissions.

It also predicts that hydrogen and electric power cars would become the common methods of transportation and as a result oil prices will drop. This in turn will mean that high-cost unconventional fossil fuels would remain in the ground as it would be economically unfeasible to extract them.

The other scenario exists when the government has taken little interest in the markets and has instead allowed the economy to progress naturally. Fossil fuel demand, especially for coal, would grow around the world. High oil demand would lead to higher prices, which sustain drilling for unconventional reserves in harsh, expensive environments. High energy prices in general will lead to more investment in research of alternative sources of energy, which will eventually cause solar power to become the dominant source of energy on the planet in about 50 years time.

In neither scenario do we manage to reduce greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to limit temperature rise to two degrees Celsius.

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PUD's picture



mjcOH1's picture

Sort of like saying 'natural gas or cold fusion'.   Tough call there.

ACP's picture

Being that:

1) Solar cells produce so much pollution during production,

2) "Green" energy companies - fraudulent or not - are immune to government prosecution from said pollution mentioned above or other fraudulent activity,

3) The cost/benefit ratio of solar regarding the environment will never exceed the cost/benefit to owning a GM vehicle or any other government-sponsored corporation (sad coincidence), (Edit: As long as the government is involved)

4) The various private propaganda ministries throughout the US and the world actively suppressing information exposing all 3 points mentioned above,

...the artificial stimulation of demand for solar will fail miserably, which will ultimately hurt the environment because of the stigma that will be attached to it.


"I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

Flakmeister's picture

Pulling crap from right-wing thinktanks funded by the Koch's is marginally better than simply making shit up on the fly....

ACP's picture

If you're referring to my statement or the article, it may be in your best interests to ask for sourcing before making assumptions., not exactly the bastion of evil Koch conservatism, was noting the side effects of current manufacturing methods as far back as 2009:


Shall we continue to wallow in ignorance and bigotry, or continue with a fact-based solution to environmental problems?

GMadScientist's picture

Love what you've done with the astroturf. Very green.

Fukushima Sam's picture

Solar, gas, either way we're fucked.

Cap Matifou's picture

Shell can suck a sack of balls. They could start to explain this, and how exactly humanity was helped by shelve the high mpg car.

Could you believe that the car above made the 1975 Guiness World Record book? Its claim to fame is getting an amazing 376.59 miles per gallon of gasoline, and that in a 1973 contest sponsored by Shell Oil (now Royal Dutch Shell).

GMadScientist's picture

I'm sure that will appeal to the morons who insist on driving the bulkiest, most inefficient, poorly handling vehicles they can finance with a downpayment out of their HELOC.


Badabing's picture

I don't listen to anything that Shell has to say so now I listen to BP.
Three mile island, fucashima, Chiernoble ?SP?
After these disasters do you think any investing co. will let poor design and inferior materials cause another meltdown? Sark/off the human species is the only animal that shits in the same place all the time. We need to diversify geo thermal, solar, hydro, wind, PVPs, gas, coal, wood, oil all of the above. Sarc/on the oil company's that funds green peace is all for that.

Acet's picture

The most efficient technologies to make electricity from solar don't involve solar cells.

Rather they involve things like large scale solar farms which are just a lot of mirrors pointing to a tower where salt is molten (see: This molten salt is then used to boil water to power the turbines that generate electricity. Amongst other things this has the huge advantage that the molten salt can be held in that state and used to produce electricity at night (which with solar cells would require huge banks of batteries).

Even in the solar cell space, for large deployment there are solutions which are organic (i.e. not sillicon based) and which are far cheaper and clean to fabricate (they literally can be printed onto a surface). On the other hand they're maybe half as efficient in converting light into electricity than conventional solar cells.

So the whole solar cells are poluting and more energy expensive to make than the energy they produce is at least ignorant, and quite likelly specious and trying to deceive to push a point.

Flakmeister's picture

As a former advocate of CSP, it does come as a surprise that polysilicon based panels are kicking CSPs ass on the cost front...

Yes, I was surprised as well...

tango's picture

If anyone has seriously followed the industry they would know that technology is rapidly advancing on almost all fronts.  Manufacturing costs and waste are being reduced even as efficiency rises.  The CHP technology is a tremendous boon - power your home with a little natural gas, battery and augment with solar.  At current rates, solar wil be half the cost and twice as efficient in three years.   Instead folks want to bitch about BP and Shell as they ride to the mall to buy junk.  Fossil fuels have given us a free ride enabling humanity to come up with the next step.  My grandkids will grow in a solar, sustainable world.  

auric1234's picture

Even in the solar cell space, for large deployment there are solutions which are organic (i.e. not sillicon based) and which are far cheaper and clean to fabricate

You mean, like, trees?


NaN's picture

A blog posting about an article in the LA Times about unquantified solid waste from manufacturing photovoltaics and the PVC used in mounting them, is hardly something to worry about compared to competing technologies that put waste products into the air.

By not making an energy produced vs. waste product comparison the point is a cheap shot designed to either create doubt or satisfy confirmation bias.

If the glue used to seal the edges of solar panels became the biggest air pollution problem in the world, I think it would be possible to find an alternate technique.


ACP's picture

Then do it.

Make me a car that has a net positive impact on the enviroment, that doesn't run on government spoils (because we all know those will run out), that won't cost the equivalent of $10/gallon over the long term..........and I will buy it. I'll buy stock in your company.

I'm a consumer and I don't give a rat's ass about what might happen if we have more government, I want what is.

GMadScientist's picture

It only has to have a less drastic effect on the environment, cost less than gas refined from oil (which will eventually be > $10/gal, unless the Chinese stop fucking), and someday you clowns will realize that energy is real and money is a concept.

auric1234's picture

This has existed for centuries. It's called a horse.


sun tzu's picture

Pulling crap from your ass is even worse. Name one country, state, city or even community that is run on green energy and no fossil fuels. The technology is not there yet and you retarded left-wing chimps can't accept that fact.

NaN's picture

If you think solar energy has a political brand, then you bought into the propaganda from oil companies. That prevents clear thinking.

Burning up oil and coal 10^6 times faster than it was produced is pretty impressive, but solar energy is used to produce all the oxygen, all the food, all the lumber, all the rain water, etc. on the planet. So the planet is mainly powered by the sun, that fusion power source 93 million miles away, vacuum contained, gravitationally compressed... 


tango's picture

Stop trying to be rational on this board!!!   LOL  Using finite resources is inferiror to using an infinite one is so logical as to defy dissent.    I grew up in the oil and gas industry and we provided THE vital service of the last 70 years.  Nothing in nature can replicate the power of the gas molecule.   Fossil fuels built the modern world BUT t's time to move on to the next platform.   It was Shell Oil peak US production and correctly forecast peak Mideat productionn (2005).  Oil companies are increasingly turning to renewables as they should.  Those bashing solar, wind or other renewables are the same ones who raved at steam, coal, cars, etc   It's all part of our innate need to hold on to the familiar.

GMadScientist's picture

Who said it has to only use renewable? It costs a great deal of money to get oil out of the ground (especially if you count the armed services required to maintain access) and you retarded right-wing chimps can't accept that fact.


tango's picture

You're right.  Solar is not 100% efficient and is not widely used.  Therefore it will never improve, technology will never advance and things will never change.  You gotta love that line of "thinking" - if we can't do it perfectly right this minute then it's a big fat failure.   Glad that wasn't said about cars, PCs, TVs, recorders, cameras,etc.  Perhaps we should place our trust in epleting natural resources.  

As for a place, Dubai has built a sustainable city (yes, with old-fashioned techniques and not 3-d building printers) that approahes 100% sustainable.  Caveats include giving up larage private cars (a fleet of smaller is available), recylcing everything and improving efficiency in all systems to the nth degree (expensive). 

entropy93's picture

Push coal and oil talking points all you want. But facts win in the end. Solar panels are dirt cheap, economies of scale will pull the price down further. Especially for large multi hundred mega watt farms.

The short term shift will likely be to plugin hybrids rather than pure electric. But even a 40 mile plugin hybrid can knock out 80+% of gasoline usage.

Its over for fossil fuels. It took the Titanic a good long while to sink, but its fate was sealed long before it sank. That is the case with fossil fuels. Install solar panels that will work for 30+ years, or frack a well that is good for a year or two. 

Sure you'll trot out more tired old anti-solar bullshit from the 1970s, but who gives a crap when you can buy panels at 50 cents a watt in bulk. You can't even build a coal plant for that, let alone pay for the coal to run it!


A Nanny Moose's picture

"Solar panels are dirt cheap"

They may be dirt cheap at Fry's, and through government siubsidies. What is the EROI? How much does it cost to mine the materials need to create PV cells?

GMadScientist's picture

What's the EROI of tar sands? How much does it cost to pipe that shit to and fro? When was the last time you heard about a solar cell spill?

ACP's picture

Please identify the point where I was pushing coal or oil.

I was actually debating whether or not to buy an electric vehicle, and after a cost/benefit analysis, I didn't. I simply couldn't get the data required to determine whether or not an electric vehicle would save money over the long term, not to mention the environmental impact. Does anyone know the impact on the environment when a lithium battery is created, or recycled? Does anyone even care? The only cost factor I was able to nail down was the fact that the cost to fuel a 100% electric vehicle was 20% the cost to fuel a 100% gas vehicle, on a daily basis, assuming zero maintenance. Yes, responsible environmentalism.

The thing is, the masses will not get "on board" with this idea until it is cost effective, either because electric becomes very afforable or oil becomes too expensive. If the "Jackasses That Be" were really set on going electric, why does the charge of "oil manipulation" occur every time the price of oil correctly rises due to socioeconomic factors? Don't tell me they're playing both sides of the coin? Say it ain't so!


To sum it up, I have nothing against "clean" fuels, in fact I'm all for them. I'm all for using free energy provided by the hydrogen bomb at the center of the Solar System, otherwise known as the Sun, for fuel. The problem is, every time the government gets involved, the "good" somehow turns into bad.

Race Car Driver's picture

> ... free energy provided by the hydrogen bomb at the center of the Solar System ...


Er, it's electric! Free energy, all the same.

Tesla knew all about it. Pity what TPTB did to him. He was put here by God himself to give humanity great gifts.

But, like all good things, he was sullied and his gifts were stolen by the pigs ... because things good for humanity is pig-death to pigs.

sun tzu's picture

Solar cells are dirt cheap because you say so? Too bad the facts don't back up your bullshit fantasies. Fossil fuels will go away when something more economical comes along. If hybrids, wind energy, and solar cells are cheaper now, people would be flocking to them. Nobody WANTS to pay more for energy. You act as if people have money to throw away. Nobody WANTS to pay their eletric bills each moneth if it was free. Nobody WANTS to spend $500/mo on gas if they could spend $100. What is it with you morons who keep thinking people WANT to waste money?

GMadScientist's picture

Pretending fossil fuels will be here as long as you need them is an even bigger "bullshit fantasy" as is the idea that centralized generation at a plant owned and controlled by corporations is superior to local generation in the hands of people.

I guess that's the problem in a nutshell...greens are focused on the energy and cons are focused on the little green pieces of paper.

californiagirl's picture

Wow! You are showing you ignorance! An example of short-sighted tunnel vision if I ever saw one. Ever heard of rare earth radioactive waste? Mercury poisoning? Are you one of those morons that thinks exporting the manufacturing of green energy to 3rd world countries (who give a rats ass about pollution) so that you can call yourself and America "green," is saving the planet? Meanwhile radioactive waste, mercury and other highly toxic substances are spreading around the planet via oceans and wind like never before. And how many mercury-laden fluorescent light bulbs are ending up in the landfill as toxins make their way down to the water tables? The manufacturing of what you call "green" makes oil extraction look clean. And calling oil "fossil" fuel is ridiculous. Educate yourself and stop drinking the coolaid put out by the propaganda machines.

I am all for green and sustainable energy. However, I am still waiting for something that is actually "green", not because some oil billionaire, ex vice president hypocrite (who practices the opposite of what he preaches), politician, or investment banker tells me it is "green", but because it is fairly clean to manufacture, including raw material extraction, and actually produces more energy than is utilized in it's manufacture and operation.

GMadScientist's picture

Wow! You are showing you ignorance! Did you know that coal-fired plants put more mercury into the air than any other single source?

So while you're waiting around for "perfect green energy", you're endorsing your own poisoning. In fact, that Hg may explain some of the decline of your reasoning abilities!

californiagirl's picture

Was I discussing coal? Did I mention coal once? Please quote what I said about coal because I don't recall having said one word.

daxtonbrown's picture

I'm a mechanical engineer. My seventh grade science project was solar, that's almost 50 years ago. I run the numbers all the time, and i live in Vegas, but I still can't pull the trigger on buyig a solar system from an economic standpoint.

Might still buy to get off the grid for political reasons, but not because I think hydrocarbon is going away for economic reasons. The physics just doesn't add up regarding energy density and support structure needed.

tango's picture

Then something is not right.    If solar or renewables has no future then companies and governments are wasting tens of billions annually.  I, too, was an engineer and look at the problem differently.  When electricity became available folks still used fireplaces, cooked with wood, rode horses and manufactured by hand. Looking at ALL aspects of energy solutions - smart networks, highly efficient lighting and engines, minituarization, the ever-increasing efficiency of solar, nano, etc - I am more hopeful than ever.  The affordabiliy of the product is like all new technologies - initiallly expensive and inefficient then cheap and affordable to the masses,   I used a combination of solar and CHP and though I am still on the grid it is rarely used.  

orez65's picture

I'm also an engineer, and I can assure you that solar power is a total and absolute scam.

First, it can not be used for transportation, therefore it can not replace oil.

Second, there is no current technology that can store large amounts of electricity. A non scheduable INVENTION needs to happen.

Third, cloud cover will decrease solar power output by a factor of 10, which makes it totally unreliable. I know, I've got them on the roof of my hangar.

Fourth, they don't work at night and power is low early in the morning and late at night.

Incidentally, last winter Germany's 1.5 million solar installations did not produce any electricity because of overcast conditions.

Fifth, the maximum amount of solar power that you can collect in a square meter is about the energy that you get from a 100 watt light bulb. So you would need to use most of the land area in the US to get significant power.

It's not that I sympathize with oil, nuclear, whatever. It's the physics of Earth based solar power systems.

For solar power to work you need to place the solar collectors in Earth orbit and beam the power to Earth.

But that technology is a long way away and would be very expensive.

Flakmeister's picture

Pretty closed minded engineer, I would say... Factually challenged as well re: Germany...

But what would I know.... :)

Read the peer reviewed article I posted to see how it works...

The Second Rule's picture

It's not just the cost/benefit ratio of solar. Don't forget it takes a pantry full of rare earth minerals to make a solar panel, e.g., gallium. These rare earths are peaking just like oil. Wind has the same problem. Everything on a wind turbine is made from petroluem products: epoxy, fiberglass, resins, paints.

People need to think through these childish fantasies that we can maintain western civilization through technological innovation. The earth is finite. When you exhaust one resource and turn to another you'll end up exhausting that too. There is no free lunch.

RafterManFMJ's picture

My dream is to build a solar-powered ethanol plant using live dolphins as feedstock. I figure that idea has to be worth a .gov 500 million dollar grant.

icanhasbailout's picture

I can confidently state that neither gas nor solar will be the dominant energy source of the future.


Natgas will have some transitional role - it's cheap, but there just isn't enough of it to run whole civilizations on.


Earth-bound solar is a joke. There's no way to produce enough solar panels to have solar be a significant contributor to energy use. In the event that enough of these things could actually be manufactured and deployed, you'd have environmental effects worse than any fossil fuel - these solar panels en masse change the albedo of the planet and will disrupt weather.


Without a tech breakthrough in nuclear fusion, solar satellite, or geothermal borehole technology, the only long-term sustainable energy source we have is nuclear fission.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

Cue comment from poster masturbating about thorium potential

GMadScientist's picture

They must still be looking for somewhere to stash the actinides.

orez65's picture

The real reason that shit heads like you are proposing renewables and joking about nuclear is that you just don't fucking understand the ramifications.

The current Earth population of 7 Billion people can not be sustained with renewables. They just can not provide enough energy.

You have to TERMINATE about 6.8 Billion people to do it.

And that is just what the, so called, "environmentalists" have in mind.

Flakmeister's picture

Do you know anything about the Thorium fuel cycle (or any fuel cycle for that matter) or do you just parrot shit that hear?

Demonstrate or provide a reputable link that shows renewables cannot carry the load or at least the vast majority of it....

Oh yeah, please explain how Nuclear address the food issue vis a vis oil depletion and what you think the "ramiifications" of AGW are for the world carrying capacity...

formadesika3's picture

-- the only long-term sustainable energy source we have is nuclear fission.

Maybe but certainly there would be a rise in genetic mutations, a necessary price to pay for the benefits?

prains's picture

ahhhhh incorrect


the only sustainable energy source is banker oligarchian greed, hubris and ineptitude it's run the world for 2000 years and will for another

HowardBeale's picture

"...the only long-term sustainable energy source we have is nuclear fission."


As a physicist, that seems obvious to me, but, apparently, Wall Street hasn't figured out how to monopolize nuclear, othewise we would be in full nuclear buildout. Nuclear is the ONLY thing that will allow an orderly transition to a lower-energy future.