Global demand for renewables will rise the most through 2050, but demand for petroleum and other liquids and natural gas will also increase, albeit at a slower pace, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds in its International Energy Outlook 2021 out on Wednesday.
The 2021 outlook contains EIA’s long-term projections of energy supply and demand worldwide and by region and source.
If current policy and technology trends continue, global energy consumption and energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will increase through 2050 as a result of population and economic growth, the EIA says in its outlook.
Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will grow, leading to a peak of the internal combustion engine fleet in developed economies in 2023, and in 2038 globally, according to the U.S. administration.
Yet, despite the rise in EV sales, global energy consumption will continue to grow, leading to growth in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions through 2050, according to the Reference case in EIA’s outlook.
New electricity generation worldwide will come predominantly from renewable energy sources, but natural gas, coal, and increasingly batteries will still be used to help meet load and support grid reliability, the EIA notes.
“Although new generation will largely be powered by renewables, dispatchable generation sources—such as natural gas- and coal-fired generating technologies as well as batteries—will remain important, especially for grid reliability,” according to the outlook.
Production of oil and natural gas are also set to grow over the next three decades, mostly to meet rising energy consumption in developing Asian economies. Consumption of liquid fuels in emerging Asian countries is expected to nearly double by 2050 compared to 2020 in EIA’s reference case.
Asia is also set to boost its crude and petroleum products imports, which will be primarily met by increased production in the Middle East, the U.S. administration said.