EIA forecasts 28 percent growth of energy consumption by 2040

Published on September 18, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recently released International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017) projects that world energy consumption will increase by 28 percent between 2015 and 2040.

Most of the growth is predicted to occur in countries not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It will likely be especially pronounced in countries experiencing strong economic growth, particularly in Asia. Non-OECD Asia accounts for more than 60 percent of the total global increase in energy consumption.

The IEO2017 predicts growth in demand for all fuel sources except for coal, for which demand is expected to remain relatively flat. The fastest growing resource is expected to be renewables, which should increase by an average 2.3 percent annually throughout the projection period. Nuclear energy will have the second largest increase, which will average 1.5 percent per year.

Although non-fossil fuels are expected to grow faster than fossil fuels, fossil fuels are projected to account for three-quarters of global energy consumption through 2040. Natural gas is projected to experience the fastest growth at an average rate of 1.4 percent each year.

Liquid fuels, mostly petroleum-based resources, will remain the largest energy source but experience a slight dip in use from 33 to 31 percent as a share of total global consumption. Consumers are expected to switch to more energy-efficient fuels where possible as oil prices increase.

Coal’s share of world energy consumption is projected to decline from 27 to 25 percent over the projection period. In China and in OECD countries, coal use is expected to fall by 0.6 percent per year. Coal consumption will increase in non-OECD Asian nations besides China, according to IEO2017, slowing the global decline in coal use.