Renewables and nuclear are expected to be the fastest-growing energy sources in the world by 2040 as consumption increases.
That’s according to a new report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), which states global energy use is projected to grow by 48% between 2012 and 2040.
Most of the consumption growth is expected to come from countries that are not part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), including nations where demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia.
Non-OECD Asia, including China and India, is to account for more than half of the world’s total increase in energy usage over the projection period.
The EIA adds concerns about energy security, environmental effects of fossil fuel emissions and sustained long term high oil prices will support increased use of renewables and nuclear.
Renewable energy is expected to be up by an average of 2.6% per year and nuclear power by 2.3% during the projected period.
The report states: “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.
“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.”
Coal is projected to be the slowest-growing energy source, rising by only 0.6% per year through 2040.
The news comes as many nations are moving away from using the polluting source. The UK plans to close all coal-fired stations by 2025.
China, the US and India are to be the top three coal consuming countries, accounting for more than 70% of world usage.
The report adds: “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. Coal use in India continues to rise and surpasses US coal consumption after 2030.”
Last week the UK generated zero power from coal-fired plants for a few hours for two days.