Asia leads in projected world energy growth

By Jodi Delapaz

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 19, 2016 - World energy consumption is projected to increase by 48 percent over the next three decades, led by strong increases in the developing world - especially in Asia - according to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA's) International Energy Outlook 2016. The IEO2016 presents projections for world energy markets through 2040.

Key drivers of the global energy outlook are rising incomes in China, India and other emerging Asia economies, EIA says. “Developing Asia accounts for more than half of the projected increase in global energy use through 2040,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski says. “This increase will have a profound effect on the development of world energy markets.”

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Clean energy technologies play an important role in the outlook, says EIA, with renewables expected to be the fastest-growing energy source, increasing by 2.6 percent a year through 2040.

Fossil fuels still account for more than three-quarters of world energy use, says EIA, and although petroleum and other liquids remain the largest source of energy, the liquid fuels share of world marketed energy consumption is predicted to fall from 33 percent in 2012 to 30 percent in 2040.

Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the forecast, with global consumption growing by 1.9 percent a year, the report says. Abundant natural gas resources and robust production, including rising supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane, contribute to the strong competitive position of natural gas, says EIA. Coal is the world's slowest-growing energy source, rising by 0.6 percent per year through 2040. By 2030, natural gas is forecast to surpass coal to become the world's second-largest energy source after liquid fuels.

By 2040, coal, natural gas and renewable energy sources provide roughly equal shares (about 28 to 29 percent) of world electricity generation - a significant change from 2012, EIA says, when coal provided 40 percent of all power generation.

Hydropower and wind are the two largest contributors to the increase in world electricity generation from renewable sources, together accounting for two-thirds of the total increase from 2012 to 2040. Hydropower and wind generation each are projected to increase by about 1.9 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the IEO2016 Reference case.

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China currently accounts for almost half of the world's coal consumption, but a slowing economy and plans to implement policies to address air pollution and climate change contribute to declining coal use in China in the later years of the projection, the report notes. In the U.S., inclusion of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan substantially lowers coal use from the level projected in the IEO2016 Reference case, says EIA. China, the U.S. and India are the world's three largest coal consumers, together accounting for more than 70 percent of world use. Of the three, only India is expected to increase coal use throughout the projection period.

The report predicts that concerns about energy security and greenhouse gas emissions will spur the development of new nuclear generating capacity. Worldwide electricity generation from nuclear power increases from 2.3 trillion kWh in 2012 to 4.5 trillion kWh in 2040, the report states, with virtually all of the projected net expansion in installed nuclear capacity occurring in the developing world, led by China's addition of 139 gigawatts.

The report notes that the industrial sector continues to account for the largest share of delivered energy consumption, and will use over half of global delivered energy in 2040.

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