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EIA report says global energy consumption to grow by 48% by 2040

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released the ‘International Energy Outlook 2016’, which expects that the world energy consumption will grow by 48% between 2012 and 2040.

According to a statement released by the EIA on Thursday, the majority of this growth will come from countries that are not in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including countries where demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia.

They added that non-OECD Asia, including China and India, accounts for more than half of the world’s total increase in energy consumption over the projection period.

EIA speaks on fossil fuels

According to the administration, coal is the world’s slowest-growing energy source, rising by only 0.6% per year through 2040.

Predicted as consuming more than half of the world’s energy consumption by 2040, the report has identified that the top three coal-consuming countries are China, the USA, and India, which together account for more than 70% of world coal consumption.

“China alone currently accounts for almost half of the world’s total coal consumption, but a slowing economy and plans to implement policies to address air pollution and reduce carbon dioxide emissions mean that coal use in China will begin to decline in the later years of the projection period.”

World embarks on ‘clean’ path

According to the EIA, renewables and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources over the projection period.

“Renewable energy increases by an average 2.6% per year through 2040; nuclear power increases by 2.3% per year.

“Even though non-fossil fuels are expected to grow faster than fossil fuels (petroleum and other liquid fuels, natural gas, and coal), fossil fuels still account for more than three-quarters of world energy consumption through 2040,” the EIA explained.

Clean liquid fuels

The report explained that: “Natural gas, which has a lower carbon intensity than coal and petroleum, is the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the outlook, with global natural gas consumption increasing by 1.9% per year. Rising supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane contribute to the increasing consumption of natural gas.

“Although liquid fuels—mostly petroleum-based—remain the largest energy source, the liquids share of world marketed energy consumption is projected to fall from 33% in 2012 to 30% in 2040.

As oil prices rise in the long term, many energy users adopt more energy-efficient technologies and switch away from liquid fuels when feasible.”


The EIA stated: “Much of the analysis conducted for the IEO2016 was done before the release of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan (CPP).

“For this reason, the IEO2016 Reference case does not include the potential effects of the CPP regulations in the United States, analysis that shows the potential for significant reductions in US coal consumption and increases in US renewable consumption compared with the Reference case projection.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.