World energy use projected to grow 50% between 2005 and 2030

World marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 50% between 2005 and 2030, driven by robust economic growth and expanding populations in the world’s developing countries, according to the reference case projection from the International Energy Outlook 2008 (IEO2008) released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). 

Average world oil prices in every year since 2003 have been higher than the average for the previous year and prices in 2007 were nearly double the 2003 prices in real terms. The IEO2008 uses oil price cases originally developed in the summer of 2007 for use in the Annual Energy Outlook 2008, which focuses on the US energy
outlook. These prices do not reflect the substantial runup in prices that has occurred since that time. Nonetheless, although liquid fuels are expected to remain the largest single source of energy through 2030, the liquids share of marketed world energy consumption declines from 37% in 2005 to 33% in 2030 in the IEO2008 reference case. 

In addition, the share of conventional oil in the overall liquids supply is declines with expanded use of nonconventional oil, biofuels, and other unconventional liquids. High oil prices lead many consumers to switch to other fuels when feasible; fuel-switching and efficiency gains, for instance, slow the growth of oil use in the industrial sector. Those trends are even stronger in the IEO2008 high price case, which reflects oil prices that are closer to those being paid in mid-2008, as this report is being issued. 

Other report highlights include:

  • Coal’s share of world energy use has increased sharply over the past few years, and without significant changes in existing laws and policies, particularly those related to greenhouse gas emissions, robust growth is likely to continue. Coal accounted for 24% of total world energy use in 2002 and 27% in 2005, largely as a result of rapid increases in coal use in China. China’s coal consumption has nearly doubled since 2000, and given the country’s rapidly expanding economy and large domestic coal deposits, its  demand for coal is projected to remain strong. In the IEO2008 reference case, coal use expands by 2% per year between 2005 and 2030, and coal’s share of total world energy consumption reaches 29% in 2030.
  • Concerns about rising fossil fuel prices, energy security, and greenhouse gas emissions support the development of new nuclear generating capacity.  World nuclear capacity is projected to rise from 374 GW in 2005 to 498 GW in 2030.  Declines in nuclear capacity are projected only in OECD Europe, where several countries (including Germany and Belgium) have either plans or mandates to phase out nuclear power, and where some old reactors are expected to be retired and not replaced. China is projected to add 45 GW of net nuclear capacity over the projection period, India 17 GW, Russia 18 GW, and the US 15 GW.