Future world energy demand driven by trends in developing countries

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Graph of world primary energy consumption, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2013


EIA's International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) projects that growth in world energy use largely comes from countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Energy use patterns for countries inside the OECD are relatively stable between 2010 and 2040 as primary energy use is projected to grow by 0.5% per year, roughly the same rate as population growth in those countries. In non-OECD countries, faster growing economies and changing habits in highly concentrated populations drive significant increases in energy use. Energy use in non-OECD countries is projected to grow by 2.2% per year, and the share of non-OECD energy use is expected to rise from 54% of total world energy use in 2010 to 65% in 2040.

Between 2010 and 2040, IEO2013 shows that primary energy use per capita is expected to change little from its 2010 level of 196 million British thermal units (MMBtu) in the OECD but grows from 50 MMBtu to 73 MMBtu per capita in non-OECD countries. In addition to already being home to most of the world's population in 2010, the non-OECD countries are also expected to experience most of the world's population growth through 2040. Population growth is most pronounced in African countries, but energy use per capita is low across the continent and is projected to stay almost constant through 2040. India also accounts for a large portion of world population growth—adding more than twice as many people as expected to be added in the entire group of OECD countries between 2010 and 2040. Unlike African countries, India's energy use per capita is expected to grow during the period.

Graph of delivered energy use per unit gdp, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2013


In 2040, the total gross domestic product (GDP), measured in purchasing power parity (PPP), of non-OECD countries is projected to be much higher than the GDP of OECD countries, but the amount of energy used per unit of GDP is virtually the same. At the same time, the ratio of GDP relative to population remains much higher in OECD countries. This higher GDP-to-population ratio allows citizens in OECD countries to spend more resources on energy-consuming services that provide productivity, leisure, and comfort, and keeps energy consumption on a per capita basis much higher in the OECD. As the economies in the non-OECD countries continue to experience relatively fast growth, those countries will also be able to spend more for energy-consuming services.

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