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Global Energy Demand to Reach Peak in 2030, Report Says

Oct 11, 2016 04:34 AM EDT
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Global energy demand per capita is predicted to peak in 2030, a recent report said.

The World Energy Council released a new report at the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, forecasting that demand for energy per person will begin to fall after 2030. The report, which was developed in collaboration with Accenture Strategy and the Paul Scherrer Insitute, presented the findings using three scenarios that represent the three distinct trajectories for the energy sector to 2060: Unfinished Symphony, a world where intelligent and sustainable economic growth models emerge; Modern Jazz, a digitally disrupted, innovative and market-driven world; and Hard Rock, which explored the consequences of weaker and unsustainable growth.

"It is clear that we are undergoing a Grand Transition, which will create a fundamentally new world for the energy industry," Ged Davis, executive chair of scenarios at the World Energy Council said during the report launch.

"Historically, people have talked about Peak Oil but now disruptive trends are leading energy experts to consider the implications of Peak Demand. Our research highlights seven key implications for the energy sector, which will need to be carefully considered by leaders in boardrooms and staterooms."

The findings are in stark contrast to growth levels in the past, where global per capita demand for energy has more than doubled since 1970.However, while overall per capita demand for energy will begin to fall, demand for electricity is predicted to double by 2060, the report said. Solar and wind power, which today account for about 4 percent of power generation, are expected to see the largest increase and will grow to represent between 20 and 39 percent of power generation by 2060.

According to the report, fossil fuel usage will still be a major source of energy, providing 50 to 70 percent of energy by 2060. In all three scenarios, the carbon budget is predicted to be broken within the next 30 to 40 years, the report said. Oil will still be a significant source of energy for the transportation sector representing 60 percent and natural gas will steadily increase.

"The underlying drivers will re-shape the economics of energy," Davis said. "We are entering a world where the concern is no longer just about stranded assets but also the impact of stranded resources on nations."

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