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EIA projects global energy consumption and emissions will increase through 2050

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that strong economic growth, particularly with developing economies in Asia, will drive global increases in energy consumption to grow by nearly 50% between 2020 and 2050.

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that world energy consumption will grow by nearly 50% between 2020 and 2050. In its International Energy Outlook 2021 (IEO2021), EIA projects that strong economic growth, particularly with developing economies in Asia, will drive global increases in energy consumption despite pandemic-related declines and long-term improvements in energy efficiency.

According to the IEO2021 Reference case, which projects future energy trends based on current laws and regulations, renewable energy consumption has the strongest growth among energy sources through 2050. Liquid fuels reportedly remain the largest source of energy consumption, driven largely by the industrial and transportation sectors.

Renewables will be the primary source for new electricity generation, but natural gas, coal and batteries will be used to help meet load and support grid reliability. EIA projects electricity generation to almost double in developing non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries by 2050. Falling technology costs and favorable laws and regulations mean that much of the new electricity generation, according to EIA, will come from renewable energy sources, although natural gas, coal and batteries will remain critical parts of the electric grid, backing up solar and wind resources.

EIA projects oil and natural gas production will continue to grow to support increasing energy consumption in developing Asian economies. Driven by increasing populations and fast-growing economies, EIA projects that consumption of liquid fuels will grow the most in non-OECD Asia, where total energy consumption nearly doubles from 2020 to 2050. EIA projects that consumption will outpace production in these countries, driving an increase in imports of crude oil or finished petroleum products, primarily from the Middle East.

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