50% increase in world energy usage by 2050, led by growth in Asia

In its International Energy Outlook 2019 (IEO2019), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that world energy usage will grow by nearly 50% between 2018 and 2050.  EIA projects most of this growth will come from regions where energy usage is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in non-OECD Asia.

“Energy consumption was greater in Asia than in any other region in 2018, and we project that consumption will almost double between 2018 and 2050, making Asia both the largest and fastest-growing region in the world for energy consumption,” according to Linda Capuano, EIA Administrator.

“This long-term trend of Asian energy consumption to support growing economies strongly influences the extraction, refining, and transport of oil, natural gas, and other fuels.”

Other significant findings of IEO2019 include

  • Manufacturing centers are shifting toward Africa and South Asia, especially India, resulting in energy consumption growth in those regions.
  • Natural gas and petroleum product consumption is rising in Asia faster than supply is growing, potentially shifting global trade patterns and infrastructure investments.
  • End-use consumption is increasingly shifting toward electricity.
  • Falling generation costs, energy consumption growth, and policy work together to shift the electricity generation mix.

Economic activity for energy-intensive manufacturing, which includes production of iron and steel, food, paper, refined oil products, non-metallic minerals, aluminum, and basic chemicals, is increasingly concentrated in fast-growing economies of Asia.  EIA projects India and China will account for more than half of global output from energy-intensive manufacturing between 2018 and 2050.

Electricity generation increases 79% between 2018 and 2050 in EIA’s IEO2019 projection as a result of increased electricity consumption in all end-use sectors.  Electricity will remain the main source of energy consumed in buildings.

In the residential and commercial sectors, EIA projects that electricity use will increase as populations rise, commercial services expand, and standards of living increase in non-OECD economies, which, in turn, will increase the demand for appliances and personal equipment.

Although the IEO2019 projects that petroleum and other liquid fuels will remain the predominant transportation fuel, electricity use will increase in the transportation sector as more plug-in electric vehicles enter the fleet and as electricity use for rail expands.

In the industrial sector, EIA projects that emerging economies with developing industrial sectors have a greater ability to increase electrification as they implement newer technologies.

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