EIA: Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power World’s Fastest-Growing Energy Sources

By PennEnergy, July 26th, 2013

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recently released International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013)projects that world energy consumption will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040, from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) to 820 quadrillion Btu. Most of this growth will come from non-OECD (non-Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, where demand is driven by strong economic growth.

Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing 2.5% per year. In the Reference case, the renewables share of total energy use rises from 11 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2040, and the nuclear share grows from 5 percent to 7 percent.

Almost 80 percent of the projected increase in renewable electricity generation is fueled by hydropower and wind power. Of the 5.4 trillion kilowatt-hours of new renewable generation added over the projection period, 2.8 trillion kilowatt-hours (52 percent) is attributed to hydroelectric power and 1.5 trillion kilowatt-hours (28 percent) to wind.

However, fossil fuels continue to supply nearly 80 percent of world energy use through 2040. Natural gas is the fastest-growing fossil fuel, as global supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane increase.

Natural gas continues to be the fuel of choice for the electric power and industrial sectors in many of the world’s regions, in part because of its lower carbon intensity compared with coal and oil, which makes it an attractive fuel source in countries where governments are implementing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The industrial sector continues to account for the largest share of delivered energy consumption and is projected to consume more than half of global delivered energy in 2040. Based on current policies and regulations governing fossil fuel use, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to rise to 45 billion metric tons in 2040, a 46 percent increase from 2010. Economic growth in developing nations fueled by a continued reliance on fossil fuels, accounts for most of the emissions increases.

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