Asian growth to boost global energy demand

26 July 2013

World energy consumption will increase by 56% between 2010 and 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Nuclear power generation is expected to double over that period, but coal will remain the dominant fuel for electricity.

Newly released highlights from the reference case in the EIA's International Energy Outlook 2013 suggest that total world energy use will increase from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040.

Most of that growth will occur in Asian and Middle Eastern countries outside the OECD: total energy demand in non-OECD countries is seen to increase by 90% by 2040. India and China together will account for half of this growth up to 2040. Energy use in OECD countries, meanwhile, is expected to increase only by 17%.

"Rising prosperity in China and India is a major factor in the outlook for global energy demand," said EIA administrator Adam Sieminski. "This will have a profound effect on the development of world energy markets."

Electricity output

World electricity generation is set to grow by 93% from the 2010 level to 39,000 TWh by 2040, according to the EIA - the statistical and analytical agency of the US Department of Energy. The fastest growing sources of world energy are renewables (including hydro, wind and solar) and nuclear power, each of which is expected to grow 2.5% annually between 2010 and 2040.

Electricity generation by source 2010-2040 (EIA) 460

World electricity generation by fuel, 2010-2040 (Image: EIA)

Electricity generation from nuclear power plants is forecast to increase from 2620 TWh in 2010 to 5492 TWh in 2040. Substantial increases in nuclear generating capacity are projected, including 149 GWe in China, 47 GWe in India, 31 GWe in Russia and 27 GWe in South Korea. However, nuclear's share of global electricity production will only grow from 13% to 14%.

The share of renewables, meanwhile, is forecast to increase from 21% in 2010 to 25% in 2040, while the natural gas share will grow from 22% to 24%. The coal-fired share will drop from 40% to 36% as countries move to cleaner sources of energy.

"The outlook for coal, however, could be altered substantially by any future national policies or international agreements aimed at reducing or limiting the growth of greenhouse gas emissions," the EIA suggested. However, coal will remain the single biggest fuel source for electricity production up to 2040.

"Given current policies and regulations limiting fossil fuel use, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from about 31 billion tonnes in 2010 to 45 billion tonnes in 2040, a 46% increase," the EIA said. It noted that coal will continue to account for the largest share of these emissions.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News