Charting the world's energy landscape through the next generation

EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 gazes ahead to 2040

China and India will drive global energy consumption. Renewables and natural gas will gain stronger footholds. Climate policies, the future of nuclear generation, and unrest in oil-producing countries will be wild cards in the deck.

Those were some of the key findings recently announced, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration —one of the world’s foremost authorities on energy statistics and analysis—released its forecast of the global energy picture over the next generation.

The International Energy Outlook 2016, using 2012 statistics as a baseline, tracks energy production, consumption and trends through the year 2040. Among the report’s key takeaways:

  • The world’s energy consumption will rise by 48 percent by 2040. Non-Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in Asia, primarily China and India, will account for more than half of that increase;
  • Renewable energy will be the world’s fastest-growing energy source (2.6% per year), while nuclear energy will grow by 2.3% a year—from 4% of the world total in 2012 to 6% in 2040;
  • Fossil fuels will still supply more than three-quarters of global energy use in 2040;
  • Natural gas will grow the fastest among fossil fuels, surpassing coal as the world’s second-largest energy source by 2030;
  • While coal provided 40 percent of global net electricity generation in 2012, by 2040 it will fall to roughly the same share of world generation (28 to 29%) as natural gas and renewables;
  • Worldwide energy CO2 emissions will rise about 34% from 2012 to 2040.

EIA administrator Adam Sieminski, who presented the International Energy Outlook 2016, noted that there are a handful of global issues that may blur this picture:

  • Economic growth in key economies, including Russia, Brazil and China;
  • The strength and effectiveness of climate policies;
  • The improvement rates of technology;
  • Unrest in oil-producing countries;
  • Long-term Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production; and
  • The future of nuclear generating capacity.

The EIA offers a treasure trove of energy analytics and data online. Check out the EIA’s website for other reports, including its Annual Energy Outlook, Short-Term Energy Outlook, Today in Energy report, and more.

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