Growth in World Energy Use to be Led by Asia
World energy consumption is projected to increase by 48 percent over the next 30 years, led by large increases in the developing world—especially in Asia, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Rising incomes in China, India, and other emerging Asia economies are a key driver of the global energy outlook.
“Developing Asia accounts for more than half of the projected increase in global energy use through 2040,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. “This increase will have a profound effect on the development of world energy markets.”
Clean energy technologies play an important role in the outlook, with renewables expected to be the fastest-growing energy source.
Among other findings of the report, world energy use will increase from 549 quadrillion BTU in 2010 to 815 quadrillion BTU in 2040. The increase mainly occurs in the developing world, driven by long-term growth in economies and populations. More than half of the total world increase in energy consumption is attributed to developing Asia.
The EIA report projects renewables as the world’s fastest-growing energy source—increasing by 2.6 percent per year through 2040—but fossil fuels will still supply more than 75 percent of world energy use.
Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the EIA outlook. Global natural gas consumption will grow by 1.9 percent per year. Abundant natural gas resources and robust production contribute to natural gas’s growth.
Coal will be the world’s slowest-growing energy source, rising by 0.6 percent per year through 2040. By 2030, natural gas will surpass coal to become the world’s second-largest energy source after liquid fuels.
By 2040, coal, natural gas, and renewable energy sources will provide roughly equal shares of between 28 percent and 29 percent of world electricity generation—a significant change from 2012, when coal provided 40 percent of power generation. Hydropower and wind are the two largest contributors from among renewable energy sources, accounting for two-thirds of the total increase from 2012 to 2040. Of the world’s three largest coal consumers—China, the United States, and India—only India is projected to increase coal use throughout the projection period.
Worldwide electricity generation from nuclear power will increase nearly double by 2040, according to the report. Virtually all of the expansion in the world’s nuclear capacity occurs in the developing world, led by China.
Despite the rise in renewables and nuclear energy, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will nonetheless rise, according to the report to 43 billion metric tons in 2040, a 34-percent increase from 2012.
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