Global energy demand to jump 49% by 2035, US says

25 May 2010 18:42  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--Global demand for energy will grow by 49% between 2007 and 2035, the Department of Energy said on Tuesday, with much of that increase in developing nations such as China and India and largely dependent on coal.

In its annual long-term energy outlook, the department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) raised its forecast of worldwide energy demand and consumption considerably, citing expected post-recession economic growth and increasing energy use by developing nations.

In last year’s 25-year evaluation, the administration had predicted that global energy use would increase by 44% over the forecast period. 

The new outlook’s prediction of a 49% increase in energy demand over the next quarter-century meant that the department’s forecasters saw an 11% gain just since May last year.

The administration said that in meeting that greatly expanded demand, world production of renewable energy - hydroelectric, wind, solar and biomass - would see the fastest growth of any power sector, but fossil fuels would still provide more than 75% of global energy in 2035.

The outlook anticipated that the post-recession global economy would continue to improve, and “most nations are expected to return to the economic growth rates that were projected prior to the downturn”.

But developing nations, especially China and India, would account for a greatly disproportionate rate of energy demand growth.

In 2007, the administration noted, China and India together accounted for about 20% of total world energy consumption. With strong economic development over the 25-year projection period, those two developing nations alone were projected to account for 30% of world energy use by 2035.

In contrast, the projected US share of world energy consumption would fall from 21% in 2007 to about 16% in 2035, the report said.

The largest volume gains in energy consumption over the next quarter-century would be in coal, the administration said.

Unless the community of nations establishes a comprehensive and global emissions reduction plan, the administration said it expected that world consumption of coal would increase from 132 quadrillion (132,000,000bn) British thermal units (Btu) in 2007 to 206 quadrillion Btu by 2035, an increase of 56%.

China alone accounts for 78% of the total net increase in world coal use from 2007 to 2035,” the EIA outlook said.

As a consequence of the overall 49% increase in global energy consumption growth, and especially the 56% jump in coal use, the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) were expected to increase from just under 30bn tonnes in 2007 to 42.4bn tonnes in 2035, an increase of 43%.

“Much of the increase in carbon dioxide emissions is projected to occur among the developing nations of the world, especially in Asia,” the outlook said.

That 49% gain in energy demand growth over the next 25 years would mean increased pricing pressures on power fuels and sources.

Once national economies recover fully from the recession, oil prices would also resume their upward trend, the administration said, rising to $108/bbl in 2008 dollars (€87/bbl) by 2020 and $133/bbl by 2035.

To help meet demand growth for liquid fuels, the administration projected a nearly four-fold increase in world output of unconventional resources, including biofuels, oil sands, extra-heavy oil, coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids, from 3.4m bbls/day in 2007 to nearly 13m bbls/day in 2035.

Worldwide natural gas consumption was forecast to increase from 108,000bn cubic feet (bcf) in 2007 to 156,000 bcf in 2035. Much of that additional demand would be met by tight gas, shale gas and coalbed methane resources, the administration said, especially in North America and China.

“Rising estimates of shale gas resources have helped to increase total US natural gas reserves by almost 50% over the past decade,” the outlook said, “and shale gas rises to 26% of US natural gas production by 2035.” 

Shale gas made up about 9% of total US marketed natural gas in 2008, according to the department.

The complete 2010 EIA long-term energy outlook is available on the Energy Department’s web site.

($1 = €0.81)

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