Energy | Ecotrope

10 predictions for the world's energy future

Ecotrope | Sept. 19, 2011 11:35 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:35 p.m.

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By 2035, the world will be using more energy thanks in large part to growth in China and India. While renewable energy will double, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will grow by 43 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2011 Energy Outlook.

By 2035, the world will be using more energy thanks in large part to growth in China and India. While renewable energy will double, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will grow by 43 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2011 Energy Outlook.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released 2011 Energy Outlook yesterday, with new projections for world energy use in 2035. The agency predicts:

  1. A lot more energy use worldwide: World energy consumption will grow by 53 percent from 2008 to 2035, and half of that growth will come from China and India.
  2. China will outpace the U.S.: China will use 68 percent more energy than the U.S. by 2035. And a lot of it will come from coal. China will account for 76 percent of the increase in world coal use.
  3. China and India will lead energy growth: in 2008 the two countries made up 21 percent of world energy consumption. In 2035, it will be 31 percent.
  4. Fossil fuels will still dominate: They will account for 78 percent of world energy use in 2035. Coal consumption will grow by 1.5 percent a year.
  5. Renewable energy will double: Consumption will increase by 2.8 percent a year, and its share of total energy use will grow from 10 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2035. That is, if current laws and policies remain in place. Renewables will be the fastest growing source of new electricity generation, increasing by 3.0 percent and outpacing the average annual increases for natural gas (2.6 percent), nuclear power (2.4 percent), and coal (1.9 percent).
  6. More fracked natural gas: Natural gas will be the fastest-growing fossil fuel, thanks in large part to new extraction methods (such as fracking) for gas in tight rock formations, shale, and coal beds. World natural gas consumption will increase 1.6 percent per year, from 111 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 169 trillion cubic feet in 2035. Supplies from the U.S., Canada and China will increase.
  7. Gas prices stay high: A barrel of light sweet crude oil will reach $125 per barrel (they’re around $90 a barrel today). However, the EIA reports, depending on supply and demand, and economic growth in developing countries, the price of oil could be as high as $200 a barrel by 2035 or as low as $50 a barrel.
  8. Oil consumption keeps growing: The world’s petroleum other liquid fuels usage will increase by 36.9 million barrels a day from 2008 to 2035.
  9. More gas from biofuels and oil sands: Less than half the growth in fuel consumption will come from conventional crude production. Production of unconventional sources including biofuels, oil sands, extra heavy oil, coal-to-liquids and gas-to-liquids will grow from 3.9 million barrels a day in 2088 to 13.1 million barrels a day in 2035.
  10. Carbon emissions will rise: Energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions rise by 43 percent – from 30.2 billion metric tons in 2008 to 43.2 billion metric tons in 2035. Much of the increase will come from developing countries, especially Asia.

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