Our Global Energy Future Part 2

For those of you just tuning in, this year I decided to take a look at what all this newly planned green energy would produce–if it was enough to meet demand.

 What I found was pretty sad. The five top fuel consuming (and CO2 emitting, for those keeping score) countries are China, the U.S., India, Russia and China will consume about 60% of the world’s energy in 2040 (and account for a similar percentage of emissions. The second five countries account for about 10%, so it really is the top 5 countries that matter.
And each of these five countries has been pursuing (and promoting their pursuit) of green energy sources to the rest of the world. To hear them all talk, green energy is going to take over the world.
However, their planned expansion programs for nuclear, hydroelectric, solar and wind,biofuels and natural gas are not going to do the job.
In fact, if everything that is on the planning boards gets built in those five countries, the percentages of renewable and nuclear energy used will climb from 17% today to 20% in 2040. And that’s if the DOE estimates of fuel consumption (819.6 quads projected for 2040) are correct. If my more pessimistic projections are more accurate our world will be burning about 965 quads by then. And if that energy isn’t coming from nuclear, hydroelectric, renewables or even oil or  natural gas… it will come from coal.
But I decided to do a bit more research and came up with more solid numbers regarding our plans to use green energy sources and nuclear power to reduce our usage of fossil fuels. I did some number crunching using the EIA’s Interactive Tables and converted their figures into quads. I also made assumptions about percentage of capacity that would be delivered in 2040, using 70% for hydroelectric power and 80% for nuclear. (The EIA, amazingly enough counts hydro as delivering 10% capacity and nuclear at 100%, while the IEA counts hydroelectric and all renewables (!) at 100%…)

This is what I came up with. (Click to embiggen.)

Our Global Energy Future pic


The world got 11.8% of its primary energy consumption via nuclear power and renewables in 2012, 64 of the 540 quads we consumed overall.

In 2040, that percentage is expected to climb to 18.7%, or 153.52 out of the 819 quads the EIA expects us to consume at that time. That would leave 666 quads to be delivered by fossil fuels. Number of the beast and all that…

If my more pessimistic figures are correct, those same 153.52 quads of renewable energy and nuclear power  will amount to 15.9% of the 965 quads my projections show we’ll be using. That would leave 812 quads to be delivered by fossil fuels.

Not a pretty picture.

7 responses to “Our Global Energy Future Part 2

  1. Do your projections include limits on gas, oil, and coal reserves similar to what BP shows?

  2. Hiya Fernando–no, I quit worrying about reserves for this century a while back. We’ll run out someday–but not soon.

  3. Tom, How much wealth will be generated by those quads? Will they cost more to the climate than the quads we generate currently now cost? I believe focusing on the misperception that generating energy is a cost and not a source of wealth is incorrect.

  4. Obviously inexpensive access to energy is a key pre-requisite for growth of emerging countries and I’m hugely in favor of it.

    But coal kills. We have have tamed it to a certain extent in the developed world but in Asia, coal kills.

    Hunter, did you watch that video posted here–Under the Dome?

  5. I wonder how EIA handled nuclear projections for Japan and Germany in 2040. My personal opinion is they will eventually come to their senses and reopen many of the plants they closed. Japan is down more than 90% for nuclear since 2010. Germany down 33%.

    France is presently the big dog in nuclear for the rest of the world, about half as much as the US. I don’t see them increasing much in the future. That leaves a heavy load for the rest of the world to pick up. Don’t see it happening. Good thing the co2 scare is mostly BS.

    BP does an annual energy report, though they convert figures to tonnes oil equivalent. This link has their figures through 2013.

    Click to access BP-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2014-full-report.pdf

    Minor point. You left Japan out of your list in the second paragraph and maybe a period. Had to struggle a bit to interpret what you were saying.

  6. Pingback: Toxic China and Climate Change | The Lukewarmer's Way

  7. Pingback: Hounding the Credit Rating Agencies on Climate Change | The Lukewarmer's Way

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