IEA releases world energy outlook

by William Yeatman on October 26, 2004

in Blog

The latest edition of the International Energy Agencys World Energy Outlook, released in Paris on October 26, predicts that in the absence of changed policies or accelerated use of new technology world energy demand will increase by 59 percent from now to 2030.  About 85 percent of that increase will be supplied by fossil fuels, and two-thirds of the new demand will come from the developing world, especially India and China.

Nuclear power use will decline in Europe but increase in Asia.  While renewable usage will triple, it will still only account for 6 percent of world electricity production in 2030.

These trends are, however, not unalterable. Our analysis shows that more vigorous government action could steer the world onto a markedly different energy path, said Claude Mandil, the agencys Executive Director. The Oulook suggests that world energy demand can be 10% lower and carbon-dioxide emissions 16% lower in an Alternative Policy Scenario. 

In this scenario, the worlds reliance on Middle East oil and gas are also much reduced.  The scenario depends on more efficient use of energy in vehicles, electric appliances, lighting and industry, which accounts for more than half of the reduction in emissions.  The rest is accounted for by a shift in the power generation fuel mix towards renewables and nuclear power.  Yet, even in this alternative scenario, said Mandil, energy imports and emissions would still be higher in 2030 than today and would still be growing.

What this analysis shows very clearly, he added, is that achieving a truly sustainable energy system will depend on technological breakthroughs that radically alter how we produce and use energy.  Mandil called on governments to take the lead in accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies that allow us to meet our growing energy needs without compromising our energy security and the environment.  (IEA Press Release, Oct. 26)

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