The only way is up for world energy use

27 May 2010

Economic growth in the world's developing nations will drive world energy consumption up by 49% over the next quarter of a century, according to the latest projections from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Newly released highlights from the reference case in the EIA's International Energy Outlook 2010 predict 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 84% by 2035. Most nations are expected to return to the rates of economic growth predicted before the economic recession of 2007-2009, and an increase of 14% is forecast for OECD countries. India and China will continue to lead the world's energy demand growth, with their combined energy use more than doubling by 2025 by which time they will account for 30% of world energy use between them.

  "Long-term prospects 

  continue to improve for 

  both nuclear and

  renewable energy"
The Energy Information 
   International Energy Outlook


In the absence of policy changes to limit their use, fossil fuels and especially coal will still continue to provide the lion's share of world energy consumption in the period to 2035, the report forecasts. With fossil fuels set to meet over three quarters of world energy needs in 2035, world energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are also likely to grow by 43% over the projection period. The EIA warns, however, that a "significant degree of uncertainty" surrounds such long-term energy-related emission projections.

Electricity demand up 87%

World electricity demand growth is set to return to pre-recession rates by 2015 and grow by 87% over the period to 2035. Renewable energy use is set to be the fastest growing of all generation options, the report says, growing at 3% per year and increasing its share from 18% in 2007 to 23% in 2035. Coal-fired generation will nevertheless continue to grow at a rate of 2.3%, legislation notwithstanding. 

Rapid world energy price increases from 2003 to 2008, coupled with concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, mean "the long-term prospects continue to improve for both nuclear and renewable energy." Higher fossil fuel prices make nuclear more economically competitive with coal, despite the relatively high capital costs of nuclear power plants. The report also notes the higher capacity utilisation rates reported for many existing nuclear plants and also anticipates that most of the older nuclear power plants both in the OECD and in non-OECD Eurasian countries will be granted extensions to their operating lives.

Nuclear generation is predicted to grow at a rate of 2% per year, reaching a total generation contribution of 4.51 trillion kilowatt hours by 2035, nearly 75% up from its 2007 contribution of 2.59 trillion kilowatt hours. Even so, this would represent a slight decrease in nuclear's share of world generation, to 12.8% in 2035 from 2007's 13.8%. The highest growth rates for nuclear power are predicted to be in non-OECD Asia, particularly China and India, with an average growth rate of 7.7% per year over the period to 2035, followed by Central and South America, at 4.3% per year.

The EIA is the statistical and analytical agency of the US Department of Energy. The International Energy Outlook 2010 follows on from its recently published Annual Energy Outlook 2010, which focuses on US energy trends. Both reports push the forecast period to 2035, five years beyond the coverage of previous editions.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News