A TERM PAPER ON WORLD ENERGY DEMAND: TREND, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES
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1.1 Background of Study
Electricity is a vital ingredient for both economic and social development in a technology advancing world. Energy demand is expected to increase considerably in the coming years as the result of population growth and economic development (EIA, 2007). Adequate, reliable and reasonably priced supply of electricity is an essential prerequisite for global development. Due to the growing energy consumption around the world and the eminent exhaustion of fossil-fuel reserves, a great interest on alternative energy sources can be noticed nowadays. Nigeria is a densely populated country with approximately 160 million people with high energy consumption rate. To sustain the current development rate, the world needs to overcome the problems of power crisis. Renewable energy, especially solar photovoltaic (PV), would be a potential source to solve this. The World Energy Outlook 2018 examines future patterns of a changing global energy system at a time of increasing uncertainties and finds that major transformations are underway for the global energy sector, from growing electrification to the expansion of renewables, upheavals in oil production and globalization of natural gas markets. Across all regions and fuels, policy choices made by governments will determine the shape of the energy system of the future.
Global energy demand has continued to increase, with major developing countries acting as the main driving force behind such increases. However, the world energy balance is dominated by fossil fuels. One major issue raised by this is how to change the future energy matrix towards more sustainable and renewable sources of energy. The largest increases in energy demand will take place in developing countries where the proportion of global energy consumption is expected to increase from 46 to 58 percent between 2004 and 2030 (EIA, 2007). Energy demand is expected to increase considerably in the coming years as the result of population growth and economic development (EIA, 2007). About half of the increase in global energy demand by 2030 will be for power generation and one-fifth for transport needs – mostly in the form of petroleum-based fuels (EIA, 2007).
Global energy consumption in the last half century has rapidly increased and is expected to continue to grow over the next 50 years, however, with significant differences. The past increase was stimulated by relatively “cheap” fossil fuels and increased rates of industrialization in North America, Europe and Japan; yet while energy consumption in these countries continues to increase, additional factors make the picture for the next 50 years more complex. These additional complicating factors include China and India’s rapid increase in energy use as they represent about a third of the world’s population; the expected depletion of oil resources in the near future; and, the effect of human activities on global climate change. On the positive side, the renewable energy (RE) technologies of wind, bio-fuels, solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) are finally showing maturity and the ultimate promise of cost competitiveness.
Broadening the global energy mix poses severe challenges, which will require strategic policy measures and significant investments, including in the public sector, to support the development of new energy sources which are currently either too costly, or introduce their own negative externalities, as is the case with some biofuels. In addressing these challenges, policymakers need to develop a holistic and integrated approach to energy security that enables them to evaluate realistically various trade-offs with other development policy objectives. The above formed the baseline for this present study on world energy demand; trend, challenges and prospects of alternative energy sources.
Statement of Problem
For many years, fossil fuels – including coal, crude oil and natural gas have been the main source of commercial energy (International Energy Agency, 2009). For industrial production, heating and transportation. Hydrocarbons, and especially petroleum, have also been used in the pharmaceutical, building and clothing industries, as well as for fertilizers, foodstuffs, plastic ware and paints. The inclusion of other energy sources, such as nuclear and renewables – wind, solar, geothermal, water and biomass – in the energy matrix has been marginal, because of high costs and underdeveloped technologies. However, recognition of the damaging environmental impact from excessive dependence on fossil fuels, along with growing concerns about the supply of some fossil fuels to meet rising global demand for energy, has brought into focus the need for a cleaner and more diversified energy mix. Hence, renewable energy, including biofuels, has received growing attention. The population growth in developing countries, like China and India, suggests that energy consumption in the World will be even higher, which is not sustainable. Thus, measures must be taken to revert this situation.
Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this research is to investigate world energy demand; trend, challenges and prospects of alternative energy sources. The specific objectives are: To increase the sustainability of energy production and efficient energy use. To outline the measures to be considered in achieving the global goal of sustainable energy come 2050. To proffer solutions to the challenges of energy demand with an alternative source for developing countries.
Worlds Present Energy Scenario
In 2012, worldwide energy demand was averaged 17 TW. For 2050, projected amount is as much as 30 TW. The World Energy Council (WEC) gives a global proven coal reserve of around 850 BT (Billion Tones) which is likely to last 150 years. World Coal Association (WCA) and British Petroleum (BP) suggest that this is enough to provide us 118 years at current rates of production. WEC suggests that 37 percent of the estimated recoverable oil has been consumed. In 2010, the remaining oil reserves are thought to be around 1.3 trillion barrels of oil. The BP estimates a total remaining reserve of 187 trillion cubic meters of natural gas in 2011. The WCA estimates that this will last until around 2070 assuming current production rates. The WEC suggests that natural gas could be a significant supply of energy for the next 130 years .
TREND OF WORLD ENERGY DEMAND
The greatest overall proportion of renewable energy consumption is in Central and South America, where economically competitive non-fossil fuel sources of energy are already well established. Higher fossil fuel prices and government policies and programmes in support of the development of alternative energy will be factors in the competitiveness of renewable energy sources. In spite of national and international efforts, however, forecasts do not show the global share of renewable energy increasing significantly. A minor expansion from 7.4 to 7.6 percent is all that is expected by 2030 (EIA, 2007). The World Alternative Policy Scenario presented in the World Energy Outlook 2006 (IEA, 2006) shows how the global energy market could evolve if countries around the world were to adopt policies and measures currently under consideration for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving energy supply security. In the scenario, the share of renewables in global energy consumption remains largely unchanged while the share of traditional biomass falls. Hydropower production will grow but its share will remain stable, while the shares of other renewables (including geothermal, solar and wind) will increase most rapidly, but from such a low base that they will remain the smallest component of renewable energy in 2030. With the inclusion of traditional biomass, heating and cooking will remain the principal uses of renewable fuels over the next 25 years. The power sector, however, is expected to lead the global increase in renewable energy consumption (IEA, 2004). This sector accounted for a quarter of global renewable energy consumption in 2002, but its share is projected to rise to 38 percent by 2030. Currently, less than 1 percent of fuels used for transport are renewable. According to projections, this share will rise to 3 percent over the next 25 years. The overall impact of these changes on global energy consumption will be relatively small although the impact on deforestation and food security may be considerable. Renewable energy including traditional biomass makes up a greater proportion of total energy supplies in developing than in developed countries. About three-quarters of renewable energy are consumed in developing countries, where most renewable energy production is based on the use of traditional biomass and hydropower. Industrialized countries account for 23 percent of the total renewable energy consumed worldwide, and transition economies for 3 percent.
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