Environmental Protection

EIA Projects World Energy Use Will Rise 53 Percent by 2035, Driven by China, India

Worldwide energy consumption is projected to grow by 53 percent between 2008 and 2035, with much of the increase driven by strong economic growth in the developing nations especially China and India, according the Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2011. "China and India account for half of the projected increase in world energy use over the next 25 years. China alone, which only recently became the world's top energy consumer, is projected to use 68 percent more energy than the United States by 2035," said acting EIA Administrator Howard Gruenspecht.

China and India lead the growth in world demand for energy in the future. The economies in these two countries were among those least affected by the worldwide recession. They are projected to continue to lead world economic growth and energy demand growth. In 2008, China and India combined accounted for 21 percent of total world energy consumption. With strong economic growth in both countries over the projection period, their combined energy use is expected to more than double by 2035, when they account for 31 percent of world energy use. In 2035, China's energy demand is projected to be 68 percent higher than U.S. energy demand.

Renewable energy is projected to be the fastest growing source of primary energy over the next 25 years, but fossil fuels will likely remain the dominant source of energy. EIA predicts that renewable energy consumption will increase by 2.8 percent per year and the renewable share of total energy use increases from 10 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2035. Fossil fuels, however, will continue to supply much of the energy used worldwide throughout the projection, and are projected to still account for 78 percent of world energy use in 2035 While the projections reflect current laws and policies as of the start of 2011, past experience suggests that renewable energy deployment is often significantly affected by policy changes.

Natural gas has the fastest projected growth rate among the fossil fuels over the 2008 to 2035 projection period. World natural gas consumption is predicted to 1.6 percent per year, from 111 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 169 trillion cubic feet in 2035. Unconventional natural gas (tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane) supplies will likely increase substantially—especially from the United States, but also from Canada and China.

The report predicts that world oil prices will remain high, but oil consumption will continue to grow; both conventional and unconventional liquid supplies are used to meet rising demand. In the IEO2011, the price of light sweet crude oil (in real 2009 dollars) is likely to remain high, reaching $125 per barrel in 2035. Total world petroleum and other liquids fuel use is projected to increase by 26.9 million barrels per day between 2008 and 2035, but the growth in conventional crude oil production is less than half this amount at 11.5 million barrels per day, while production of natural gas plant liquids increase by 5.1 million barrels per day, World production of unconventional resources (including biofuels, oil sands, extra-heavy oil, coal-to-liquids, and gas-to-liquids), which totaled 3.9 million barrels per day in 2008, increases to 13.1 million barrels per day in 2035 (Figure 2).

Other report projections include:

From 2008 to 2035, total world energy consumption rises by an average annual 1.6 percent, driven by non-OECD nations. Non-OECD energy use increases by 2.3 percent per year; in the OECD countries, energy use grows by only 0.6 percent per year.

Petroleum and other liquid fuels remain the largest energy source worldwide through 2035, though projected higher oil prices erode their share of total energy use from 34 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2035.

Projected petroleum consumption and prices are very sensitive to both supply and demand conditions. If there is higher economic growth in developing countries coupled with reduced supply from key exporting countries, real oil prices will likely exceed $169 per barrel by 2020 and approach $200 per barrel by 2035. Conversely, lower economic growth in developing countries coupled with increased supplies from key exporting countries would result in real oil prices falling to about $55 per barrel in 2015 and then gradually declining to $50 per barrel after 2030 where they remain through 2035.

World coal consumption increases from 139 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 209 quadrillion Btu in 2035, at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent in the IEO2011 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 the other nations of non-OECD Asia consume coal in place of more expensive fuels. China alone accounts for 76 percent of the projected net increase in world coal use, and India and the rest of non-OECD Asia account for another 19 percent of the increase.

Electricity is the world's fastest-growing form of end-use energy consumption in the Reference case, as it has been for the past several decades. 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 3.0 percent and outpacing the average annual increases for natural gas (2.6 percent), nuclear power (2.4 percent), and coal (1.9 percent).

The transportation sector accounted for 27 percent of total world delivered energy consumption in 2008, and transportation energy use increases by 1.4 percent per year from 2008 to 2035. The transportation share of world total liquids consumption increases from 54 percent in 2008 to 60 percent in 2035 in the IEO2011 Reference case, accounting for 82 percent of the total increase in world liquids consumption

In the IEO2011 Reference case, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise 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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