According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), world energy use will increase 49 percent from 2007 levels by 2035, with global electricity generation increasing 87 percent. The global economic recession that began in 2007 and contracted energy consumption in 2008 and 2009 are not expected to have long term effects; nations will resume their economic and energy growth tracks from prior to the recession.
Annual global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase from 29.7 billion metric tons in 2007 to 42.4 billion metric tons in 2035, a 43 percent increase. Much of this increase will occur in developing nations, particularly in Asia. Energy demand in developed, OECD, countries will increase 14 percent, compared to 84 percent in developing, non-OECD, countries. OECD countries have more established energy usage patterns and more slowly growing populations.
Fossil fuels are still likely to meet over three quarters of total energy needs in 2035. Liquid fuels are projected to remain the largest source of energy, but will decrease from 35 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2035 due to high oil prices. Each year, worldwide natural gas consumption will increase by 1.3 percent, coal by 1.6 percent, and unconventional sources ( oil sands , extra-heavy oil, biofuels, coal-to-liquids , gas-to-liquids, and shale oil) by 4.9 percent.
Renewable energy will be the fastest growing source of energy during the projection period. Global renewable electricity is projected to grow 3.2 percent per year, increasing to 107 GW of renewable power by 2035. This projection can be split into an annual 1.3 percent increase in OECD countries and a 6.9 percent increase in non-OECD countries. Over half of the increase in renewable generation will come from hydropower and over a quarter from new wind energy sources.
The DOE projections assume current laws and policies remain unchanged. The report notes that “typically, government incentives or policies provide the primary support for construction of renewable generation facilities.”