Global demand for energy is expected to grow by a quarter between 2015 and 2040 due to population growth, a doubling of worldwide economic output and the rapid expansion of the middle class, according to a report.
ExxonMobil’s 2017 Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 said the vast bulk of this increase is likely to take place in non-OECD nations, which are expected to see energy use rise by 40% as prosperity grows.
In the more developed member states of the OECD demand is likely to be flat, the report predicts.
Meanwhile, improvements in energy efficiency across the world will play a major role in limiting the growth in demand for energy.
Some 55% of the growth in energy demand over the next 25 years will be driven by the increasing digitisation of everyday life.
Average electricity use per household will rise about 30% between 2015 and 2040.
The use of lower emission energy sources such as natural gas, nuclear and renewables will increase and coal will fall by around 30%.
Natural gas will account for around 40% of the projected growth in global energy demand.
Nuclear and renewable energy sources such as bioenergy, hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar will account for another 40% of the projected growth.
Oil will still be the world’s number one energy source in 2040, providing about a third of global energy needs. However, the share of world energy generated by oil will fall from its 2015 figure of around 40%.
William Colton, vice president of corporate strategic planning at Exxon Mobil, said: “Humanity’s dual challenge is to meet growing energy demand while managing the risk of climate change.”
The number of cars is expected to increase by around 80% to 1.8bn vehicles by 2040 as the global middle class more than doubles to around 5bn.
But demand for energy from this source will be partly offset by average new car fuel economy, which will improve from about 30mpg to nearly 50mpg.
And global CO2 emissions will peak during the 2030s and then gradually decline as energy generation becomes less carbon intensive and energy efficiency improves across all sectors. The carbon intensity of the global economy is set to drop by around 45% by 2040.
The report also predicted that North America will become a significant net exporter of oil by 2025 and that India and China will account for about 45% of the growth in global energy demand.
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