Energy consumption to grow by leaps and bounds as countries industrialize


WASHINGTON — World marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 50 percent between 2005 and 2030, driven by robust economic growth and expanding populations in the world’s developing countries, according to the reference case projection from the “International Energy Outlook 2008” released by the Energy Information Administration.

Average world oil prices in every year since 2003 have been higher than the average for the previous year and prices in 2007 were nearly double the 2003 prices in real terms.


The report uses oil price cases originally developed in the summer of 2007 for use in the “Annual Energy Outlook 2008,” which focuses on the U.S. energy outlook. These prices do not reflect the substantial run-up in prices that has occurred since that time.

Nonetheless, although liquid fuels are expected to remain the largest single source of energy through 2030, the liquids share of marketed world energy consumption declines from 37 percent in 2005, to 33 percent in 2030, in the outlook report reference case.

In addition, the share of conventional oil in the overall liquids supply is declining with expanded use of unconventional oil, biofuels and other unconventional liquids.

Oil prices

High oil prices lead many consumers to switch to other fuels when feasible; fuel-switching and efficiency gains, for instance, slow the growth of oil use in the industrial sector.

Those trends are even stronger in the outlook report’s high price case, which reflects oil prices that are closer to those being paid in mid-2008, as this report is being issued.

Other report highlights include:

  • Coal’s share of world energy use has increased sharply over the past few years, and without significant changes in existing laws and policies, particularly those related to greenhouse gas emissions, robust growth is likely to continue.
  • Coal accounted for 24 percent of total world energy use in 2002, and 27 percent in 2005, largely as a result of rapid increases in coal use in China.


    China’s coal consumption has nearly doubled since 2000, and given the country’s rapidly expanding economy and large domestic coal deposits, its demand for coal is projected to remain strong.

    In the outlook report reference case, coal use expands by 2 percent per year between 2005, and 2030, and coal’s share of total world energy consumption reaches 29 percent in 2030.

    Concerns about rising fossil fuel prices, energy security and greenhouse gas emissions support the development of new nuclear generating capacity.

  • Concerns about rising fossil fuel prices, energy security and greenhouse gas emissions support the development of new nuclear generating capacity.
  • World nuclear capacity is projected to rise from 374 gigawatts in 2005, to 498 gigawatts in 2030.

    Declines in nuclear capacity are projected only in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development European member countries, where several (including Germany and Belgium) have either plans or mandates to phase out nuclear power, and where some old reactors are expected to be retired and not replaced.

    Nuclear additions

    China is projected to add 45 gigawatts of net nuclear capacity over the projection period; India 17 gigawatts; Russia 18 gigawatts; and the United States 15 gigawatts.

  • Sustained high prices for oil and natural gas encourage expanded use of renewable fuels.
  • Renewable energy sources are attractive for environmental reasons, especially in countries where reducing greenhouse gas emissions is of particular concern.

    Government policies and incentives to increase renewable energy sources for electricity generation are expected to encourage the development of renewable energy even when it cannot compete economically with fossil fuels.


    Worldwide, the consumption of hydroelectricity and other renewable energy sources increases by 2.1 percent per year in the outlook report reference case between 2005 and 2030.

    In contrast, world coal consumption increases by 2 percent per year; natural gas by 1.7 percent per year; nuclear by 1.5 percent per year; and liquids by 1.2 percent per year.

  • In the report’s reference case, which does not include specific policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise from 28.1 billion metric tons in 2005, to 42.3 billion metric tons in 2030 — an increase of 51 percent.
  • With strong economic growth and continued heavy reliance on fossil fuels expected, 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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