U.S. Energy Information Administration logo

Press Room

pressroom logo


July 25, 2013

World energy use to rise by 56 percent, driven by growth in the developing world

Over the next three decades, world energy consumption is projected to increase by 56 percent, driven by growth in the developing world, according to International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013), released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

"Rising prosperity in China and India is a major factor in the outlook for global energy demand. These two countries combined account for half the world's total increase in energy use through 2040," said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski. "This will have a profound effect on the development of world energy markets," said Mr. Sieminski. Clean-fuel technology is also playing an important role in the outlook, with renewable energy and nuclear power expected to grow faster than fossil fuels over the forecast period.

IEO2013 presents updated projections for world energy markets through 2040. The IEO2013 Reference case projection does not incorporate prospective legislation or policies that might affect energy markets.

Some key findings:

World energy consumption increases from 524 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2010 to 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040. The increase in world energy use is largely in the developing world, where growth is driven by strong, long-term economic growth. Half of the total world increase in energy consumption is attributed to China and India (Figure 1).

IEO2013 projects increased world consumption of energy from all fuel sources through 2040 (Figure 2). Fossil fuels are expected to continue supplying much of the energy used worldwide. Although petroleum and other liquids remain the largest source of energy, the liquid fuels share of world marketed energy consumption falls from 34 percent in 2010 to 28 percent in 2040. Renewable energy and nuclear power are the world's fastest-growing energy sources, each increasing by 2.5 percent per year; however, fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of world energy use through 2040.

Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the outlook. Global natural gas consumption grows by 1.7 percent per year. Increasing supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane support growth in projected worldwide gas use. Coal grows faster than liquid fuels consumption until after 2030, due to increases in China's consumption of coal and tepid growth in liquid fuels demand attributed to (1) slow growth in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries, and (2) high sustained oil prices.

Other IEO2013 highlights:

  • The Brent crude oil spot price averaged $112 per barrel in 2012, and EIA's July 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook projects averages of $105 per barrel in 2013 and $100 per barrel in 2014. With prices expected to increase in the long term, however, the world oil price in real 2011 dollars reaches $106 per barrel in 2020 and $163 per barrel in 2040.
  • Almost 80 percent of the projected increase in renewable electricity generation is fueled by hydropower and wind power. The contribution of wind energy, in particular, has grown rapidly over the past decade and this trend continues into the future. Of the 5.4 trillion kilowatthours of new renewable generation added over the projection period, 52 percent is attributed to hydroelectric power and 28 percent to wind. Most of the growth in hydroelectric generation (82 percent) occurs in the non-OECD countries, while more than half of the growth in wind generation (52 percent) occurs in the OECD countries (Figure 3).
  • Electricity generation from nuclear power worldwide increases from 2.6 trillion kilowatthours in 2010 to 5.5 trillion kilowatthours in 2040, as concerns about energy security and greenhouse gas emissions support the development of new nuclear generating capacity. Factors underlying the IEO2013 nuclear power projections are mixed. They include the consequences of the March 2011 disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan; planned retirements of nuclear capacity in OECD Europe under current policies; and continued strong growth of nuclear power in non-OECD Asia.
  • Given current policies and regulations limiting fossil fuel use, worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from about 31 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36 billion metric tons in 2020 and then to 45 billion metric tons in 2040, a 46 percent increase over the 30-year span.

IEO2013 is available at http://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/.

The product described in this press release was prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, EIA's data, analysis, and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the United States Government. The views in the product and press release therefore should not be construed as representing those of the Department of Energy or other federal agencies.

EIA Program Contact: John Conti, 202-586-2222, john.conti@eia.gov

EIA Press Contact: Jonathan Cogan, 202-586-8719, jonathan.cogan@eia.gov