WASHINGTON - Robust economic growth and expanding populations in the world’s developing countries will fuel a 50 percent increase in world energy use between 2005 and 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA admits that its International Energy Outlook 2008 does not account for the recent surge in oil prices, and it projects a 26 percent increase in the use of petroleum over the next 22 years. It also foresees an expanded use of renewable fuels, increasing from 0.5 million barrels per day in 2005 to 2.7 million barrels per day in 2030, primarily in response to high prices for oil and natural gas. Worldwide, the consumption of hydropower and other renewable energy sources increase by 2.1 percent per year in the reference case, which results in a 58 percent increase over the next 22 years. The reference case doesn’t include policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions, which are projected to increase by 51 percent between 2005 and 2030.

The report also includes a “high price” case that appears to more closely resemble today’s trajectory of oil prices. In this scenario, world energy use grows by 44 percent between 2005 and 2030, but petroleum use declines by 2 percent. Meanwhile, renewable energy use grows by nearly 73 percent, and biofuels production increases to 4.2 million barrels per day by 2030. And although high oil prices will also encourage the development of unconventional resources, such as oil sands, the high price case yields a lower increase in greenhouse gas emissions, rising by 43 percent between 2005 and 2030.

The EIA also released its Annual Energy Outlook 2008, which includes the same scenarios but focuses on the United States. Under the reference scenario, U.S. energy use grows by 19 percent between 2005 and 2030, while petroleum use increases by only 9 percent and ethanol use increases by a factor of 6. Hydropower increases by only 11 percent, but biomass energy, excluding biofuels, more than doubles, while other renewable energy sources more than triple. In the high price case, petroleum use drops by 2.1 percent, the growth in ethanol use and hydropower production stay essentially the same, biomass energy nearly triples, and the growth in other renewable energy sources stays the same.

Publication date:07/14/2008