Short-term uncertainty does little to alter the longer-term picture



International Energy Agency : Economist, engineer
Despite uncertainty over the prospects for short-term economic growth, demand for energy in the New Policies Scenario grows strongly, increasing by one-third from 2010 to 2035.
The assumptions of a global population that increases by 1.7 billion people and 3.5% annual average growth in the global economy generate ever-higher demand for energy services and mobility. A lower rate of global GDP growth in the short-term than assumed in this Outlook would make only a marginal difference to longer-term trends.The dynamics of energy markets are increasingly determined by countries outside the OECD. Non-OECD countries account for 90% of population growth, 70% of the increase in economic output and 90% of energy demand growth over the period from 2010 to 2035. China consolidates its position as the world’s largest energy consumer: in 2035 it consumes nearly 70% more energy than the United States, the second-largest consumer, even though, by then, per-capita energy consumption in China is still less than half the level in the United States. The rates of growth in energy consumption in India, Indonesia, Brazil and the Middle East are even faster than in China. Global investment in energy supply infrastructure of $38 trillion (in year-2010 dollars) is required over the period 2011 to 2035. Almost two-thirds of the total investment is in countries outside of the OECD. Oil and gas collectively account for almost $20 trillion, as both the need for upstream investment and the associated cost rise in the medium and long term. The power sector claims most of the remainder, with over 40% of this being for transmission and distribution networks. The age of fossil fuels is far from over, but their dominance declines. Demand for all fuels rises, but the share of fossil fuels in global primary energy consumption falls slightly from 81% in 2010 to 75% in 2035; natural gas is the only fossil fuel to increase its share in the global mix over the period to 2035. In the power sector, renewable energy technologies, led by hydropower and wind, account for half of the new capacity installed to meet growing demand.


WEO 2011