Agency projects 50% rise in world energy demand by 2040

Energy consumption is expected to rise more than 50 percent by 2040, driven by growth in the developing world, the Energy Information Administration said Friday.

Rising incomes in China and India will  account for almost half of that increasing demand, according to the International Energy Outlook 2013, which the agency officially releases Tuesday.

Rapid growth in these two Asian power house markets will help push world consumption up to 820 quadrillion British thermal units by 2040, up from 524 quadrillion Btu  in 2010.

But while India’s economy is growing faster, its energy consumption is expected to grow by a little more than 50 percent,  while China’s energy use will double by 2040, according to the report.

Nuclear power and renewable energy will be the fastest-growing energy sources, growing by 2.5 percent per year, as countries look for alternatives to fossil fuels.

But fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas — will continue to supply about 80 percent of world energy use, the report said. The study projects that natural gas consumption will have the highest growth rate among the fossil fuels, about 1.7 percent annually, boosted by continued production of shale gas and coalbed methane.

The increase in energy consumption is expected to produce a 46 percent increase by 2040 in emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas associated with climate change.