Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The future of energy...oil, gas, renewables

IEA has released its annual World Enery Outlook. Where are we heading? Here are some highlights:

1. The United States is projected to overtake Saudi Arabia as major oil producer by 2020 and become a net exporter of oil by 2030, because of measures to increase fuel efficiency in the transportation sector. Net fossil fuel production will increase because of increase in production of unconventional oil such as tight oil, oil sands and natural gas.

2. Oil consumption is projected to increase in emerging nations such as China and India, as well as in the Middle East. Iraq is projected to become a major supplier.

3. Global price fluctuations will continue to influence the energy mix of countries. E.g. cheap U.S. natural gas has translated into higher coal imports into Europe, where natural gas is expensive.

4. Energy efficiency measures in place are not optimal; the WEO provides some strategies for increasing energy efficiency.

5. Natural gas will continue to grow, even though it is fuelling environmental concerns. Coal use is projected to grow in India, and to level off in China by 2020. The predictions, however, are limited because of uncertainties in the growth of unconventional fuels.

6. Nuclear power is slated to decline in all countries except China, India, Korea and Russia. In other places, renewable energy are projected to emerge as major sources for power production, even though they will trail behind coal.

7. Energy production and consumption is projected to grow considerably and to put a strain on water, since several of the resources will require water for their production.

From a climate perspective, is this business as usual or thriving business of emissions?

An executive summary of the IEA report is available here.



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