Wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy will supply 80% of the world’s electricity needs by 2050, according to a new report.

Falling costs mean solar is expected to account for 40% of electricity generation, with wind chipping in a further 29%, the “Energy Transition Outlook 2018: Power Supply and Use” report by Norwegian risk management firm DNV GL said.

The rapid electrification of transport and manufacturing means electricity’s share of total energy demand is predicted to hit 45% by 2050.

Growth in electric vehicle use is expected to drive demand, with half of all cars sold in Europe forecast to be electric by 2027.

Impact on grid

Increased electrification will lead to an expansion of transmission and distribution networks, with the total length and capacity of power lines expected to triple by 2050.

The increase in renewables will also alter the way grid operators need to run their networks.

“This requires major regulatory intervention,” the report said.

“Market-based price signals are crucial to incentivise innovation and develop economically efficient flexibility options.”

Ditlev Engel, DNV GL Energy Business Chief Executive, said that the report had “some very encouraging findings, and the good news is that the energy transition is achievable and affordable”.

“However, the rapid transition we are predicting is still not fast enough to achieve the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement,” he added.

“If we are to decarbonise the world’s energy system at the required speed, we need to adapt and automate our electricity grids, and regulators and politicians will need to re-think, re-shape and take major policy decisions about market models.”

> Download the report (requires registration)