Electricity use to increase 53 percent, renewables to grow globally by 2035

A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says worldwide energy consumption will increase by 53 percent between 2008 and 2035.

The International Energy Outlook 2011 (IEO2011) released September 19 says China and India will lead the growth in world demand for energy in the future. The report also says renewable energy is projected to be the fastest growing source of primary energy over the next 25 years. Even so, fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas will remain the dominant source of energy. In 2035, China’s energy demand is projected to be 68 percent higher than U.S. energy demand.

Renewable energy is expected to increase by 2.8 percent each year and the renewable share of total energy use is forecast to rise from 10 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2035, the report says. However, fossil fuels will still account for 78 percent of world energy use in 2035.

Natural gas is expected to grow the fastest in the projection period with a 1.6 percent increase worldwide, from 111 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 169 trillion cubic feet in 2035. Unconventional natural gas supplies, including shale gas, are projected to increase in the Reference case from the U.S. but also from Canada and China.

The report says world coal consumption will increase from 139 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 209 quadrillion Btu in 2035, at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent in the Reference case. In the absence of policies or legislation that would limit the growth of coal use, China and, to a lesser extent, India and other nations of non-OECD Asia consume coal in place of more expensive fuels.

Electricity is the world's fastest-growing form of end-use energy consumption in the Reference case. Net electricity generation worldwide rises by 2.3 percent per year on average from 2008 to 2035. Renewables are the fastest growing source of new electricity generation, increasing by 3 percent and outpacing the average annual increases for natural gas (2.6 percent), nuclear power (2.4 percent), and coal (1.9 percent).

In the IEO2011 Reference case, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increase from 30.2 billion metric tons in 2008 to 43.2 billion metric tons in 2035, an increase of 43 percent. Much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations of the world, especially in Asia.

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