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Projected Renewables Contribution to World Electricity Generation

 

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) is the acknowledged statistical authority on world energy. The EIA estimates that renewables presently provide about 20% of world electricity consumption and projects a very significant 66% growth in renewables over the next 20 years.

At the same time rapidly rising electricity demand in the developing world (particularly China and India) is expected to require continuing growth across all energy sectors. Because of the expected rise in total electricity consumption, this translates to a relatively small increase in renewable energy’s global share. The renewables proportion of the total is expected to rise by just 1% to around 21% by 2030.

 

Hydro-electricity presently contributes the vast proportion (88%) of renewable energy worldwide. In the non-OECD countries, hydroelectric power is expected to be the predominant source of renewable energy growth. Strong growth in hydroelectric generation, primarily from mid to large-scale power plants, is expected in China, India, Brazil, and a number of nations in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Laos.

 

Wind the next greatest contributor, currently contributes less than 8% of the world’s renewable energy budget. But the unexploited wind resource worldwide is still vast. As a result wind generation is growing at rate in excess of 25% pa worldwide. The most substantial additions of electricity supply generated from wind power are projected in China.

 

The limitations on the greater utilisation of wind are economic (cost) and technical (particularly intermittency and distance to market). These limit the exploitable resource to a fraction of the total and are expected to gradually slow annual growth in wind to around 10% pa by 2030. Nevertheless this represents a tripling of wind generation over the next 20 years. On balance, wind is expected to contribute about 4% of the world’s total electricity in 20 years.

 

The contribution of gas is projected to grow by 63% and coal by 57% over the next 20 years. Hydro-generation is expected to grow by 41% and nuclear power is expected to grow by 39%. The only decline is expected to be small drop in the relative contribution made by liquid hydrocarbons (typically dieseline) due to expected increases in relative price.

 

 

ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION – SELECTED COUNTRIES

Country

Electricity Consumption TWh

Fossil

%

Nuclear

%

Wind

%

Hydro

%

Biofuels Other

%

Cost‡

US$/kWh

Australia

227 [2006/7]

96.4

0

0.9

2.3

0.5

0.06 i

NSW

76.5[2007/8]

94.8

0

0.2

4.7

0.3

0.06 i

Denmark [12]

39.3 [2007]

82

0

18

0.1

0.1

0.38 r

France [13]

443.3 [2003]

9.2

74.5

0.05

16.2

0.05

0.06 i

Sweden

139 [2003]

0

46.4

0.7

43.6

9.3

n/a

Switzerland

58.2 [2005]

5

39

0.1

56

0.1

0.09 i

‡Source: International Energy Agency, Energy prices and taxes 2008[14]. i = industrial r = residential)

 

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