Report: Nearly 50 Percent Increase in World Energy Usage by 2050

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By The Maritime Executive 09-29-2019 01:44:21

In its International Energy Outlook 2019 (IEO2019), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that world energy consumption will grow by nearly 50 percent between 2018 and 2050. 
EIA projects most of this growth will come from regions where the consumption of energy is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in non-OECD Asia. 

Other significant findings of IEO2019 include:

•     Manufacturing centers are shifting toward Africa and South Asia, especially India, resulting in energy consumption growth in those regions.
•     Natural gas and petroleum product consumption is rising in Asia faster than supply is growing, potentially shifting global trade patterns and infrastructure investments.
•     End-use consumption is increasingly shifting toward electricity.
•     Falling generation costs, energy consumption growth, and policy work together to shift the electricity generation mix.

According to EIA’s IEO2019 projection, the industrial sector, which includes mining, manufacturing, agriculture and construction, accounts for more than 50 percent of global end-use energy consumption between 2018 and 2050. Economic activity for energy-intensive manufacturing, which includes production of iron and steel, food, paper, refined oil products, non-metallic minerals, aluminum and basic chemicals, is increasingly concentrated in fast-growing economies of Asia. EIA projects India and China will account for more than half of global output from energy-intensive manufacturing between 2018 and 2050.

The economies in countries outside the OECD account for nearly all of EIA’s projected growth in petroleum product consumption between 2018 and 2050 in IEO2019, as growing populations and economic growth result in increased consumption of energy. Non-OECD Asia accounts for about three-quarters of EIA’s projected global increase in liquid fuels consumption through 2050. India, in particular, is projected to experience rapid industrial growth and increased demand for motorized transportation.

In contrast to energy consumption growth in Asia, EIA projects in the IEO2019 that crude oil production will be concentrated in the Americas, Russia and the Middle East. Trade and infrastructure will have to shift to accommodate the projected production and consumption changes. Given these overall economic patterns, natural gas trade and infrastructure face similar shifts.

Electricity generation increases 79 percent between 2018 and 2050 in EIA’s IEO2019 projection as a result of increased electricity consumption in all end-use sectors. In the residential and commercial sectors, EIA projects that electricity use will increase as populations rise, commercial services expand, and standards of living increase in non-OECD economies, which, in turn, will increase the demand for appliances and personal equipment.

Although the IEO2019 projects that petroleum and other liquid fuels will remain the predominant transportation fuel, electricity use will increase in the transportation sector as more plug-in electric vehicles enter the fleet and as electricity use for rail expands. In the industrial sector, EIA projects that emerging economies with developing industrial sectors have a greater ability to increase electrification as they implement newer technologies.

More developed OECD and developing non-OECD economies have vastly different growth profiles for electricity consumption. On average, EIA projects in IEO2019 that OECD consumption of electricity will grow 1.0 percent annually between 2018 and 2050, while non-OECD consumption grows 2.3 percent annually. Although renewables are cost-competitive compared with new fossil-fired electric generation, displacement of existing non-renewable generation requires policy incentives. 

In OECD countries, policy initiatives tend to have a stronger effect on electric generation investment, and renewables meet most of the growth in electricity consumption as well as displace some existing generation. A mix of renewables and non-renewable generating technologies meets non-OECD electricity consumption growth, and this mix is generally influenced by regional resource and economic considerations. 

The report is available here.