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New Report: World Will Use 60% More Energy By 2040

Knovel News

The ongoing debate over the role of fossil fuels as opposed to the increased implementation of renewable or alternative energy sources is likely to continue with a report from  the U.S Energy Information Administration showing that world power consumption is expected to increase by 56 percent from now until 2040, with traditional engineering resources naturally playing a big role.

Figure 2. World energy consumption by fuel type, 1990-2040

According to Reuters, global oil consumption will rise by 32 percent in the next 27 years, despite the apparent growth in renewables, with growing demand in China and India believed to account for nearly 50 percent of the increase in energy use. Industry analysts have long considered that demand in OECD countries would be a significant driver of consumer requirements, however it appears that a number of emerging economies are having a say in how the energy market will perform in the near future.

Bulk of demand
Developing countries are expected to provide the bulk of demand, with the EIA report projecting that it will grow by 90 percent by 2040, compared to a relatively small increase of 17 percent in existing industrialized regions. According to the news source, energy requirements in China are projected to be at least double that of the United States, with the authors of the report predicting that global consumption of petroleum and other liquid fuels should reach 97 million barrels per day by 2020 and 115 million barrels per day by 2040.

“Rising prosperity in China and India is a major factor in the outlook for global energy demand,” said Adam Sieminski, EIA administrator. “These two countries combined account for half the world’s total increase in energy use through 2040. This is good news, this is rising prosperity. The question is how do we accommodate rising prosperity and still maintain energy security and the environment?”

The International Energy Outlook is believed by energy analysts to be a reasonable barometer of what will happen in the industry over the next few years, and while the EIA – the statistical and analytical wing of the Department of Energy –  tries to steer clear of “forecasting policy developments,” the report indicates that fossil fuels will supply up to 80 percent of consumption in the time period under study. However, the report also notes that liquid fuel demand will drop by 6 percent over the period, with natural gas increasing globally by 1.7 percent per year, an indication of how important fracking could be in terms of accessing supply.


Figure 6. World net electricity generation by energy source, 2010-2040

Coal will still be the second largest energy source in 2040, however the EIA predicts that its share of consumption will peak sometime in the next decade and decline after 2025. This is believed to be in response to projected governmental targets in respect of cleaner fuels, coupled with the anticipated rise in global natural gas extraction.

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