I looked at projected energy consumption totals for 125 countries that are not part of the OECD (except for Turkey, which I included in a fit of absent-mindedness) and have populations of over 1 million. In 2010, these 125 countries had a combined population of 5.66 billion, and a combined GDP of $18.6 trillion. By 2030, they will account for 6.96 billion people and their combined GDP is projected to be $36.84 trillion.
In 2006, these countries consumed 230.3 quads. The EIA projected (in 2010) that in 2030 these countries will consume 405.6 quads, a CAGR of 2.29%. My methodology indicates that these countries may well consume 636.2 quads, a CAGR of 4.15%.
That would permit the inference that global energy consumption will be closer to 936 quads than the EIA’s 2011 projection of 721 quads in 2030. The difference between the EIA’s estimate and ours—215.9 quads—is more than the current energy consumption of the U.S. and China combined. (I get to that total by assuming that EIA projections are accurate for the OECD at 278.7 quads and developing countries not included in my analysis, at 22 quads.)
What drives the difference? For 106 of the 125 countries, I paired these countries with other, similar, countries that had preceded them along the development path, and used historical figures of per capita energy consumption and per capita GDP to provide new figures. For the other 19 countries I was unable to find suitable pairings and took the EIA estimates instead.
The EIA calculated a 2.2% CAGR for the developing world in their 2010 report (and increased that to 2.3% for their 2011 update). My calculations, when including the countries where we accepted the EIA estimates, showed a CAGR of 4.15%. For the countries where I was able to find a paired country as an analogue, the CAGR was higher, at 5.07%.
The countries where I was unable to find an adequate ‘paired’ country had a 2006 energy consumption total of 33.9 quads and are projected by the 2010 EIA report to consume 58.3 quads. They included major energy producers such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates, countries that are already consuming very large amounts of energy per capita. They also included high income states such as Taiwan and Singapore. In both cases I felt that I was unable to determine if further development would result in higher per capita energy consumption.
Thirteen of the countries I paired with examples yielded CAGR figures lower than the EIA. Almost all of those countries were Eastern or Central European states, including Russia. Their energy consumption in 2006 was 41.9 quads, and the EIA projected (in 2010) that their 2030 consumption would be 56.2 quads. My estimate for 2030 energy consumption for these countries was 50 quads.
The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) explain much, but by no means all of the discrepancy between the EIA’s projections and my own. According to my projections, those four countries will account for 405.36 of the 636.2 quads from this set of developing countries. The EIA had projected (I infer, from the CAGR percentages applied to non-OECD nations) 243.2 quads from the BRICs.