Expanding prosperity for a growing world population will drive an increase in energy demand of about 35 percent by 2030 compared to 2005, even with significant efficiency gains, and natural gas will emerge as the second-largest energy source behind oil, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) said today as it released its new edition of Outlook for Energy: A View to 2030.
The growing use of natural gas and other less-carbon intensive energy supplies, combined with greater energy efficiency in nations around the world, will help mitigate environmental impacts of increased energy demand. According to the Outlook, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions growth will be lower than the projected average rate of growth in energy demand.
The Outlook for Energy is developed annually to help guide ExxonMobil’s global investment decisions. The company shares the findings publicly to increase understanding of the world’s energy needs and challenges. The outlook is the result of a detailed analysis of approximately 100 countries, 15 demand sectors and 20 fuel types and is underpinned by economic and population projections and expectations of significant energy efficiency improvements and technology advancements.
Rising electricity demand -- and the choice of fuels used to generate that electricity -- represent a key focus area, which will have a major impact on the global energy landscape over the next two decades. According to the outlook, global electricity demand will rise by more than 80 percent through 2030 from 2005 levels. In the non-OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries alone demand will soar by more than 150 percent as economic and social development improve and more people gain access to electricity.
According to ExxonMobil’s Outlook, efforts to ensure reliable, affordable energy while also limiting greenhouse gas emissions will lead to polices in many countries that put a cost on carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, abundant supplies of natural gas will become increasingly competitive as an economic source of electric power as its use results in up to 60 percent fewer CO2 emissions than coal in generating electricity. Demand for natural gas for power generation is expected to rise by about 85 percent from 2005 to 2030 when natural gas will provide more than a quarter of the world’s electricity needs. Natural gas demand is rising in every region of the world but growth is strongest in non-OECD countries, particularly China where demand in 2030 will be approximately six times what it was in 2005.
Among this year’s findings:
• Rapid economic growth and expanding prosperity in developing countries that are not part of the OECD will drive an increase in their energy demand of more than 70 percent in 2030 compared to 2005. By contrast, improvements in energy efficiency will help keep energy demand in OECD countries essentially flat over the period to 2030, even though the total economic output of these nations is expected to rise by approximately 60 percent.
• Efficiency gains are expected to accelerate between 2005 and 2030 versus historical trends. Gains in the wise and efficient use of energy across all sectors of economies worldwide will curb energy demand growth through 2030 by about 65 percent.
• There will be an expansion of natural gas supply, particularly in the United States where unconventional gas supplies are expected to meet more than 50 percent of gas demand by 2030.
• Power generation is the largest and fastest growing major energy-demand sector and is likely to represent 55 percent of the total growth in demand through 2030. At that time, power generation will account for about 40 percent of total primary energy demand.
• Oil, natural gas and coal will continue to meet most of the world’s needs during this period because no other energy sources can match their availability, versatility, affordability and scale. The fastest-growing of these fuels will be natural gas, reflecting its abundance, versatility and economic advantages as an efficient, clean-burning fuel for power generation.
• Wind, solar, and biofuels will grow sharply through 2030, at nearly 10 percent per year on average. However, because they are starting from a small base, their contribution by 2030 is likely to remain relatively small at about 2.5 percent of total energy.