FORECAST: 2030 OECD Energy Consumption
How many countries in the OECD will increase energy consumption as fast or faster than China?
Okay, here goes. Take a deep breath and follow the bouncing ball…
In 1980 the OECD consumed 178 quads. By 2008 that had climbed to 243 quads. The U.S. DOE projects OECD energy consumption at 279 quads in 2030, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.6%.
In 2008 there was large variability in energy consumption per capita within the 34 OECD countries. The average for all 34 OECD nations was 205 mbtus per person per year, and the two countries closest to that average were New Zealand (211) and South Korea (193).
I was almost pleasantly surprised to learn that the U.S. is not the highest consumer of energy per person in the developed world. In the OECD, that honor goes to Iceland (569 mbtus per person per year), followed by Canada (427), Luxembourg (424) and Norway (411). The U.S. is number 5 with 335.
The lowest consumers of energy on a per person per year basis were Turkey, with 55.5 mbtus per person per year, Mexico (68.5), Chile (77.6) and Poland (100).
Guess which countries are expected to grow at the fastest rate between now and 2030? Turkey, Mexico, Chile and Poland…
So. Let’s acknowledge that the OECD is not a homogenous unit. Let’s accept that there are countries that are stable and will probably not increase their energy consumption much–that the DOE is correct about the 0.6% CAGR for these countries. And let’s look at what happens when we treat the other countries in the same way I treated developing countries. By finding ‘partner’ countries that we can compare their development path with.
For example. Chile’s income is expected to grow dramatically over the next 20 years, from $11,194 to $19,559 (measured in 2005 US dollars). The latter figure is pretty close to South Korea’s income in 2010. South Korea had a per capita energy consumption of 193.4 mbtus in 2008. It is not unreasonable to project that Chile’s energy consumption will be close to that in 2030. Chile’s population is expected to grow to 19.5 million by that time. Chile’s energy consumption could then approach 3.77 quads. As we know Chile consumed 1.21 quads in 2008, we can calculate the CAGR percentage. If Chile’s growth for the next 20 years brings them close to South Korea’s level of consumption it will be a CAGR of 5.3%. That’s not just higher than the DOE’s projection of 0.6%. It’s higher than China’s…
To be continued…
3000 Quads is about energy for the 21st century. The world’s population is now estimated to peak at between 9 and 10 billion people somewhere around 2075. If they use energy at the same rate as the average American, they will consume 3,000 quadrillion btus. That isn’t written in stone–the Danes use half as much energy per person as Americans and they have a pretty good life. The developing world could aim for a Danish lifestyle instead of Yankee over-exuberance. But if it comes to pass, then we face a dilemma. If most of that energy is provided by burning coal, we face something close to disaster. My name is Tom Fuller. I work at a solar power company called Sungevity, a premiere provider of solar power to homeowners in the United States.
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