What do we see over the next 30 years? The answer to that question varies by region, reflecting diverse economic and demographic trends as well as the evolution of technology and government policies.
Everywhere, though, we see energy being used more efficiently and energy supplies continuing to diversify as new technologies and sources emerge. Other key findings of this year’s Outlook includ“In the decades ahead, the world will
Global energy demand will be about 30 percent higher in 2040 compared to 2010, as economic output more than doubles and prosperity expands across a world whose population will grow to nearly 9 billion people. Energy demand growth will slow as economies mature, efficiency gains accelerate and population growth moderates.
In the countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – including countries in North America and Europe – we see energy use remaining essentially flat, even as these countries achieve economic growth and even higher living standards. In contrast, Non OECD energy demand will grow by close to 60 percent. China’s surge in energy demand will extend over the next two decades then gradually flatten as its economy and population mature. Elsewhere, billions of people will be working to advance their living standards – requiring more energy.
The need for energy to make electricity will remain the single biggest driver of demand. By 2040, electricity generation will account for more than 40 percent of global energy consumption.
Demand for coal will peak and begin a gradual decline, in part because of emerging policies that will seek to curb emissions by imposing a cost on higher-carbon fuels. Use of renewable energies and nuclear power will grow significantly.
Oil, gas and coal continue to be the most widely used fuels, and have the scale needed to meet global demand, making up about 80 percent of total energy consumption in 2040.
Natural gas will grow fast enough to overtake coal for the number-two position behind oil. Demand for natural gas will rise by more than 60 percent through 2040. For both oil and natural gas, an increasing share of global supply will come from unconventional sources such as those produced from shale formations.
Gains in efficiency through energy-saving practices and technologies – such as hybrid vehicles and new, high-efficiency natural gas power plants – will temper demand growth and curb emissions.
Global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will grow slowly, then level off around 2030. In the United States and Europe, where a shift from coal to less carbon intensive fuels such as natural gas already is under way, emissions will decline through 2040.
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