As societies advance, they will continue to need energy to power homes, businesses, industry, transportation, electricity generation and other vital services. The Outlook examines each of those demand sectors in detail.
As economies and populations grow, so will energy needs. By 2040, residential and commercial energy demand is expected to rise by about 30 percent. This increase is being driven by developing countries, where prosperity is expanding and more and more people are moving away from rural areas and into the cities. People are also shifting from biomass energy sources like wood and agricultural waste to modern fuels, improving their quality of life in the process. While overall demand is up, energy use per person in developing countries is actually declining, thanks to more energy-efficient buildings and appliances.
Our world is constantly on the move. Because of expanding economies and international trade, transportation-related energy demand will increase by more than 40 percent from 2010 to 2040. Most of this demand is driven by commercial sources such as trucks, planes, ships and trains. At the same time, personal vehicles are becoming significantly more energy-efficient. Although the number of cars on the road will about double, advances in automotive technology (such as hybrid cars) keep global personal transportation energy demands relatively steady.
Industry forms the foundation of the global marketplace. It creates jobs, supports healthy economies and supplies us with the goods and services we use in everyday life. Over the next 30 years, industrial energy demand will continue to grow. Factories and manufacturing plants must produce an ever-expanding amount of products to support growing populations and consumer demand. Producing the materials modern society needs – like steel, cement, plastics and chemicals – takes an enormous amount of energy.
Think of all the appliances and electronics you depend on every day for work, recreation and basic comfort. Computers, smartphones, air conditioning, microwaves, washing machines – these things all depend on electricity to work. And as the number of homes and businesses across the world grows, so does the need for power. Over the period of the Outlook, the fuel for electricity generation will account for about 55 percent of demand-related energy growth. The fuels we use to power our world are also changing, with natural gas emerging as the No. 1 source of electricity generation by 2040.