22 January 2020

Just 20 years into the 21st Century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We’ve come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organisation.

Prediction 20

Over the next 20 years, there will be a global transition to the use of renewable energy. This will be supported by increased investment in renewable energy technology and its reduced cost, as well as by changing government policy.

This shift will play out across society, with energy consumption and environmental sustainability both becoming key considerations for individuals and organisations in every decision they make.

We will see, for example, a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles on the road with charging stations becoming more common than petrol stations; this trend will be boosted by technology that makes it possible to fully charge an electric vehicle in less than 10 minutes.

Individuals will have more control over their energy usage and experience, employing digital devices to manage consumption and collecting, storing and selling energy to others; this will incentivise smarter energy usage.

The increased connectivity of devices, along with intelligent systems, will facilitate significantly more energy efficient societies. For example, devices will automatically regulate their consumption based on the time of day, or what other appliances are in use.

Australia will have a smaller fleet of coal-fired generation facilities. Fossil fuels will still be around but the low cost of renewables, carbon prices and a desire for positive ESG investments will displace its prominence and it will only be used in a limited number of legacy industries.

Trends in investments in renewable energy


While both consumers and organisations are enthusiastic about the shift to renewable energy, policymakers will need to redefine regulation around energy consumption to incentivise new behaviours.

As the climate emergency continues to rise up the agenda, individuals will be significantly more conscious of their energy consumption, and activities such as managing and trading energy will become a part of daily life.

For businesses, it will become imperative to have an energy strategy and to become ever more conscious of how they participate in the circular economy.

Curious to find out what else could happen between now and 2040? Read our other predictions


  1. IEA, World Energy Outlook 2019, November 2019
  2. McKinsey & Company, Energy 2050: Insights from the ground up, November 2016
  3. Climate Action, BP predicts a 400% growth in renewable energy by 2040, February 2018
  4. Clean Enegry Council, Number of Australian Homes with Rooftop Solar Tops 2 Million... And Counting, December 2018

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