Wednesday, January 9, 2013

World Energy Outlook

Again, this is going to be a lot of summary.  The big takeaway is that our current growth is unsustainable, led mostly by developing countries.  However, even here and Europe, energy use and water use is going to rise if we do not take drastic policy measures to conserve.

If you've read some of my previous posts on energy, this shouldn't come as a surprise.  China, India, and the Middle East are projected to grow fast and use a lot more energy, mostly from fossil fuels.  In developed countries, coal is giving way to natural gas and renewables, but coal is still projected to be a major source of energy in 2035.

Lo and behold, the US is projected to be a net energy exporter by 2030.  So I was wrong, right?  Ah, the next paragraph clarifies.  Of course there's no way we'd actually be energy independent: "there is no immunity from global markets."

Energy efficiency is going to increase, but not nearly enough in most places.  The authors recommend more regulations and incentives for energy efficiency.  I'm not sure if that's more from engineers or economists.  Interestingly, I am also taking a class on building energy performance/efficiency, so I will be looking at booth perspectives.  Unfortunately, the prospect of limiting climate change to 2 degrees (Celsius) is looking bleak without huge changes very soon.  "No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal, unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed."

Oil use is expected to increase largely because of trucking (road freight) and some because of more cars.  I didn't realize that trucking would increase that much.  Another interesting tidbit: "Non-OPEC oil output steps up over the current decade, but supply after 2020 depends increasingly on OPEC."  Unless we (and other countries AKA China) do a lot to reduce demand, we're going to rely on evil Middle East dictators for global energy supplies.  Iraq is actually projected to become a huge supplier of oil (to the tune of 8 million barrels a day in 2035).

Natural gas of course is going to be an increasing part of the pie, largely due to fracking.  Unfortunately, China and India are going to use a lot more coal first.  Nuclear energy is still expected to increase, but at a much lower rate than projections pre-Fukushima.  Renewables are expected to be about 1/3 of the electricity mix, but largely due to subsidies to the tune of $240 billion.

Poverty is expected to remain high by 2030, with 2.6 billion people lacking clean cooking and 1 billion lacking electricity.  Of course, if this ends up being lower, then we'll be using even more energy!  Perhaps a bigger concern is water: water demand is supposed to double.  Many of our water resources are already scarce and many people lack clean water.

1 comment:

  1. The energy performance certificate shall not in itself demands on the building, but shall inform potential buyers or tenants about the energy performance of the building by an energetic score (prefix) to be granted to the building. This score is calculated based on the characteristics of the building such as the materials and insulation of walls and roof, windows and doors, and installations for heating and hot water.