By - Jim Vess

Global energy consumption set to rise 50 percent by 2050 led by rapid growth in Asia, EIA says

Energize Weekly, January 8, 2020

Global energy consumption is projected to grow 50 percent between 2018 and 2050, spurred by a rising demand for energy in Asia and a sharp growth in electricity as a key energy source, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In its annual International Energy Outlook, the EIA projects energy consumption reaching more than 900 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) by 2050, with Asia accounting for 44 percent of the energy used. The EIA also sees smaller increases in energy use in Africa and the Middle East.

The 36 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which have the world’s most advanced economies, are projected to have very modest growth.

The largest energy consumer is the industrial sector ­­– which includes mining, manufacturing, refining, agriculture and construction – posting a 30 percent increase by 2050 and accounting for more than a third of all the energy used.

The EIA forecast sees most energy-intensive manufacturing shifting to Asia, not including OECD member Japan, and increasingly to India.

Energy consumption for transportation increases by almost 40 percent, again driven by non-OECD countries demand, which will be up 80 percent. “Energy consumption for both personal travel and freight movement grows in these countries much more rapidly than in many OECD countries,” the EIA said.

Energy consumed in the buildings sector grows by 65 percent between 2018 and 2050 to 139 quadrillion Btu. Rising income, urbanization and increased access to electricity in Asia lead to rising demand for energy.

End-use electricity consumption increases 79 percent between 2018 and 2050, spurred by increased living standards in non-OECD countries. Electricity also will make increasing inroads in transportation with electric vehicles and the expansion of electric rail, as well as in the industrial sector, where consumption is projected to rise 66 percent to 50 quadrillion Btu in 2050.

As for energy sources, the EIA projects a 3.1 percent annual increase in worldwide renewable energy – wind, solar and hydroelectric – to 2050, compared with a 0.6 percent growth rate for petroleum and 0.4 percent growth rate for coal.

Global natural gas consumption grows more than 40 percent between 2018 and 2050, and total consumption reaches nearly 200 quadrillion Btu by 2050.

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