Did you know that this week there have been some seismic shifts in energy forecasting?

The 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook was released on 12 November 2012.

Drawing on the latest data and policy developments the report presents analytical insights into trends in energy markets and what they mean for energy security, environmental protection and economic development. It sets out updated projections of energy demand, production, trade, investment and carbon-dioxide emissions, broken down by country, fuel and sector, to 2035. Here are some of the latest predictions from experts (only one of them is mine and I’m not an expert, but see if you can tell)

  • Emerging economies’ demand for electricity drives a 70% increase in worldwide demand by 2035, with renewables accounting for half of the new global capacity;  the highest prices persist in the EU and Japan, well above those in China and the US.
  • Specifically for ABB: More than 60% of possible energy efficiency savings remain untapped in the period to 2035, but economically viable efficiency measures can halve energy demand growth by 2035 (equivalent to the oil output of Russia and Norway).
  • The rapid deployment of energy efficient technologies can delay, by five years, the ‘lock-in’ of CO2 emissions permitted for a 2 degree C trajectory – which is set to happen in 2017 under the New Policies Scenario.
  • Investment totaling $37 trillion (1.5% of GDP on average over the period 2012-2035) is needed in the energy infrastructure; $17 trillion in electricity generation, and T&D.
  • United States becomes a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and is almost self-sufficient in energy, in net terms, by 2035. North America emerges as a net oil exporter, accelerating the switch in direction of international oil trade, with almost 90% of Middle Eastern oil exports being drawn to Asia by 2035.
  • Global energy demand will push ever higher, growing by more than one-third to 2035. China, India and the Middle East account for 60% of the growth; demand barely rises in the OECD, but there is a pronounced shift towards gas and renewables.
  • By 2030, Iraq becomes the second largest global oil exporter overtaking Russia.
  • By 2030 a rare form of marine plankton will be genetically engineered commercially to act as a CO2 ‘sink’ in the oceans and could extract up to 30% of CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Almost 90% of Middle East oil exports go to Asia, with China, India, Japan and Korea taking the vast majority.

So where are all these fascinating predictions from? My source is the World Energy Agency and specifically their World Energy Outlook 2012 (WEO) report.

(The plankton prediction is mine…)

Happy reading!


Further IEA WEO resources:

Press release

Fact sheets


Image credit: Leorex on Flickr

Categories and Tags
About the author

Adam Roscoe

I am the Head of Sustainability Affairs at ABB. In a previous life I trained as a journalist and worked as one for eight years. My interests outside work include cycling, cooking, current affairs, history, Daft Punk and writing.
Comment on this article