Thursday, May 28, 2009

World Energy Consumption to Increase 44% From 2006 to 2030, Says EIA

World energy use will rise about 44% from 472 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2006 to 678 quadrillion Btu in 2030, according to the International Energy Outlook 2009 report issued yesterday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

These growth estimates assume current laws and policies will remain unchanged until 2030.

To put that in the context of population growth: the United Nations World Population Prospects 2008 Revision, posted March 11, 2009, estimates world population will reach 8.163 billion by 2028 (pdf). Given a 2008 figure of 6.709 billion people worldwide, that works out to a 22% increase over 20 years.

Yes, I know the energy and population statistics come from different sources and cover different periods, so they're not strictly comparable. But they still help show the general trend. Which is that we're going to consume energy at roughly twice the rate at which we'll grow in numbers.

The surge in energy usage will be much faster in non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries -- 73%, vs. just 15% in the OECD countries. Click here for a list of the 30 countries in the OECD.

The report contains some good news about renewable energy prospects, though not much.

It states that renewable energy will be the fastest-growing source of world electricity generation, advancing by an average of 2.9% per year from 2006 to 2030. But the renewable share of world electricity generation will rise by only 2 percentage points over the same period, from 19% to 21%.

For the foreseeable future, like it or not, the world will be relying heavily on fossil fuels.

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