Current status of global electricity production

According to the current assessment of the International Energy Agency, electrical energy has been the fastest growing form of end-use energy consumption in the world in the past few decades. It is estimated that the average annual growth rate of global net power generation will reach 2.3%, from 19.1 trillion kWh in 2008 to 25.5 trillion kWh in 2008 to 35.2 trillion kWh in 2035, while the average annual growth rate of global energy demand is only 1.6%. Non-OECD countries are forecasting the fastest growth in power generation, with an average annual growth rate of 3.3%. This growth is mainly due to the increase in China’s demand caused by the improvement of living standards in non-OECD countries and the expansion of commercial services, including hospitals.

Non-OECD Asian countries (including China and India) are expected to increase power generation by 4% annually from 2008 to 2035. OECD countries, due to their more mature consumption patterns and relatively slower population growth or a downward trend, their power generation will grow more slowly, with an average annual growth rate of 1.2% from 2008 to 2035.

In many countries, concerns about energy security and environmental damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions have led governments to formulate policies to support the use of renewable energy. Therefore, from 2008 to 2035, renewable energy is the fastest growing energy source for power generation, with an average annual growth rate of 3.1%.

Natural gas is the second fastest growing energy source for power generation, with an average annual growth rate of 2.6%. The growth of unconventional natural gas resources in many regions, especially North America, has provided sufficient supply to the global market and ensured price competitiveness. Renewable energy power generation, natural gas power generation and a small part of nuclear power generation will all reduce coal-fired power generation in the future, but coal will still be the world’s largest source of power generation until 2035.

More than 82% of the growth in renewable energy comes from hydropower and wind power. In particular, wind power has grown rapidly in the past 10 years, from a net installed capacity of 18GW at the end of 2000 to 121GW in 2008, and this trend will continue in the future. During the forecast period, 2.5 trillion kWh (55%) of the newly added 4.6 trillion kWh renewable energy power generation will be hydropower, and 1.3 trillion kWh (27%) will be wind power.

The main increase in hydropower (85%) comes from non-OECD countries, while the small increase in wind power (58%) comes from OECD countries. The total cost of building and operating renewable energy units is higher than that of traditional power plants. The uncontrolled intermittent nature of wind and solar energy further reduces the economic competitiveness of these resources. However, an improved battery storage technology and the dispersion of solar and wind power generation equipment over a wide area reduce the problems caused by intermittent characteristics during the forecast period.

As people continue to pay attention to energy security and climate change issues, nuclear power generation has been vigorously developed. The global nuclear power generation capacity will increase from 2.6 trillion kWh in 2008 to 4.9 trillion kWh in 2035. In addition, the global average capacity utilization rate has increased from about 65% in 1990 to about 80% today, and it is expected to continue to grow in the future. The future of nuclear energy is sometimes uncertain, because many issues (such as plant safety, radioactive waste disposal, and nuclear proliferation) continue to attract public attention, and these issues may hinder or delay new installation plans. In addition to the increase in investment costs and maintenance costs, the lack of well-trained operators and limited equipment manufacturing capabilities will also restrict the country from advancing nuclear projects. After the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Italy have announced the phasing out of their existing and pre-built nuclear reactors. As a response to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, other countries may also adjust existing plans and designate new policies, but these changes have not been reflected in previous forecasts, so it is expected that there should be a corresponding reduction.

Judging from the current situation, 75% of the newly installed nuclear power capacity is in non-OECD countries. China, Russia and India accounted for the largest proportions of new nuclear power generation from 2008 to 2035. China increased by 106 GW, Russia increased by 28 GW, and India increased by 24 GW.
Although the share of coal will decrease from 40% in 2008 to 37% in 2035 during the forecast period, coal will still account for the largest share of the world’s power generation energy. Coal-fired power plants are the main method of power generation around the world, especially the United States, China, Russia, India, Germany, South Africa, Australia and Japan. It is predicted that 100GW of the newly added 185GW power generation will come from coal-fired power generation, mainly because of coal-fired power generation. The price is relatively low and stable. Coal-fired power generation, which accounts for 80% of China’s power generation, is expected to grow at a rate of 3% per year from 2008 to 2035, and the US growth rate during the corresponding period is 0.2%. At the end of 2008, there were about 557GW of thermal power generating units in operation in China. In order to meet the increasing demand for electricity, it is expected that 485GW of generating units will be added by 2035. This new unit capacity shows that the average annual installed capacity of 18GW is slower than the five years before the end of 2008. However, the proportion of coal in China’s total power generation has dropped from 80% in 2008 to 66% in 2035, because nuclear power, natural gas, and renewable energy power generation are growing faster than coal-fired power generation. In the industrial sector, especially in steel production, coal is still the main energy source because of the limited reserves of oil and natural gas.

In India, coal consumption is expected to increase by 54%, most of which are in the power and industrial sectors. In 2008, India’s coal-fired power plants consumed 6,700 trillion Btu of coal, accounting for 62% of India’s national coal demand. The average annual growth rate of coal-fired power generation in India is 2%, and it will reach 114 million Btu by 2035, which means a net increase of 72GW in coal-fired power generation. That is to say, coal-fired power generation in India will increase from 99GW in 2008 to 2035. 17lGW of the year. However, India’s natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy power generation growth rate is faster than China’s, and its coal power generation’s proportion of total power generation will drop from 68% in 2008 to 51% in 2035.

Coal consumption in other non-OECD Asian countries will increase from 6,300 trillion Btu in 2008 to 11,000 trillion Btu in 2035, with an average annual growth rate of 2.1%, mainly in the power and industrial sectors. Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. are expected to have a huge growth in coal-fired power generation.

The coal consumption of non-OECD European and Eurasian countries will decrease from 8,900 trillion Btu in 2008 (ElA-IE02011). Russia is the main coal consuming country in the region. In 2008, Russia consumed 4,500 trillion Btu of coal, which accounted for about half of the coal consumption in the region, while 18% of Russia’s electricity generation came from coal power generation, and this proportion will drop slightly to 16% in 2035. . During the forecast period, Russia’s coal consumption will increase to 4900 trillion Btu in 2035, while the coal consumption of other countries in the region will drop from 4500 trillion Btu in 2008 to 3700 trillion Blu in 2035. On the whole, coal-fired power generation in the region is still near the current level, because the proportion of coal-fired power generation in the total power generation has dropped from 34% in 2008 to 24% in 2035. During this period, non-OECD Europe and Eurasian countries (except Russia) accounted for 38% of the new power generation demand from nuclear power generation, and 39% was provided by natural gas power generation. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, Zelvia and Ukraine plan to rebuild existing coal-fired power stations.

South Africa’s coal-fired power generation accounts for 93% of the African continent’s coal-fired power generation, and its consumption is expected to increase further. The total consumption of the entire African continent will increase by 2500 trillion Btu from 2008 to 2035. With the increase in electricity demand in recent years, South Africa has decided to restart three large thermal power plants of 3.8GW that have been closed for 10 years. In addition, there are plans to build a new 9.6GW coal-fired power station. At present, the coal reserves of Botswana and Mozambique are used to provide the power generation needs of China’s coal-fired power stations and to fill the energy shortage in South Africa and export to the international market. Coal consumption in the industrial sector has increased by 600 trillion Btu from 2008 to 2035 (about 26% of the total increase). This is because a large amount of coal is used to produce steam, heat and coke required for the steel processing process. Some are used to produce synthetic fuels. Approximately 25% of coal consumption in South Africa is used to produce liquid fuels.

Central and South America consumed 800 trillion Btu of coal in 2008. Brazil is one of the countries with the largest steel industry in the world, so the steel industry accounts for approximately 61% of coal consumption in the region. Most of the remaining coal is used by Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Puerto Rico. It is estimated that coal consumption in the region will increase by 1,500 trillion Btu from 2008 to 2035. Most of Brazil’s coal growth is mainly used for coke production, and the remainder are three new power plants with a generating capacity of 1.4GW.

Coal consumption in the Middle East in 2008 was about 400 trillion Btu, still lower than in 2035. Israel accounts for 85% of the total consumption, and the rest is Iran.

The BP Energy Outlook 2030 released in January 2013 roughly estimates that fossil fuel consumption will increase by 4.5 btoe (1 billion tons of oil equivalent) from 2011 to 2030, a growth rate of approximately 36%. Coal consumption will increase by 26% (3.7-4.7btoe), liquid fuel will increase by 17%, and natural gas will increase by 46% (2.9-4.3btoe). Under normal circumstances, mixed-fuel power generation will undergo major changes because of the development of relative prices, policies, and technologies. In the 1970s and 1980s, expensive oil was replaced by nuclear energy and a small amount of coal. In the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century, with the development of gas turbine technology, the proportion of gas and coal also increased, reflecting the influence of concentrated coal-fired power generation in Asia in the field of global energy power generation. From 2011 to 2030, the share of coal declined, and the share of natural gas only increased slightly, because renewable energy began to enter the market and had a certain scale. The impact of the growth of power generation fuels is particularly significant in the last 10 years of this outlook. After 2020, compared with the past 20 years, coal used for power generation has hardly increased. This is due to the combined effects of the slowdown in total power generation and the increase in nuclear and renewable energy. The growth of natural gas will also decrease, but the decrease is small compared to coal.

However, the world’s total energy demand and supply forecast and BP’s last forecast have changed very little, with an increase of about 0.5% in 2030. North America’s oil and natural gas supply forecasts have been adjusted higher, about 14%, because shale gas and tight oil are expected to develop further; power generation demand has been adjusted higher, mainly because of the non-OECD Asia-Pacific The increase in demand for power generation in regional countries and the use of fossil fuels are affected by the potential for regional economic development. Comparison of different outlooks: Figure 2.12 shows the comparison between BP Energy’s outlook 2030 and US EIA and IEA. BP Energy Outlook 2030 is based on the “most likely assessment” of future policy trends. In this respect, it is different from the energy forecasts of IEA and EIA because they are forecasts based on specific policy options.

IEA’s “New Policy Scenario (NPS)” assumes that the government will put its announced fossil fuel reduction commitments into actual actions, but the “Current Policy Scenario (CPS)” does not consider changes in the policy context, that is, as usual. Although BP2030 assumes that the scenario is the same as the “new policy scenario”, the final result is closer to the predicted result of the “current policy scenario”. BP estimates that the energy demand growth of non-OECD countries is much greater than the IEA’s “New Policy Scenario” estimate, and BP predicts that the growth of fossil fuels is also greater, especially coal. This may reflect the different perspectives on the fast-developing industrial economy forecasts, especially the speed, because they may shift to a low energy-intensive path.

Regarding carbon emissions, due to the increase in energy consumption, carbon emissions increased by 26% from 2011 to 2030, an average annual growth of 1.2%. This means that carbon emissions are still much higher than the emissions required to maintain a stable greenhouse gas content in the atmosphere: 450 ppm. By 2030, annual CO2 emissions will reach 45 billion tons.

The aforementioned CO2 emission forecast is very similar to the forecast made by the IEA’s “Current Policy Scenario”.
The IEA2011 forecast did not take into account the two factors of efforts to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the future global temperature is expected to rise by at least 6°C. The IEA’s “New Policy Scenario” projected CO2 increments to stabilize, slightly higher than 35 bt, which is far lower than BP’s forecast. Based on this prediction, in order to ensure that the global temperature rise does not exceed 4 ℃, a lot of technological innovation and correct policy support are required. Moreover, after 2050, mankind needs to further increase CO2 emission reduction to ensure the success of maintaining global temperature. These predictions demonstrate the situation and process of a 4-6°C increase in global temperature. However, according to a report entitled “Lower Heat” released by the World Bank in December 2012, a 4°C increase in temperature will cause devastating damage to the planet.