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Carbon dioxide emissions to 2040

Energy Global,

Exxon expects wind, solar and biofuels to be the fastest growing energy sources, increasing on average approximately 6%/y, but the company expects these sources to contribute only a small amount to total demand (4% in 2040). That is because of the high cost of wind and solar power and their inability to produce energy on demand. Exxon expects all renewables, including hydroelectric power, to account for 15% of energy demand in 2040 and nuclear power’s contribution to double. Despite efficiency gains and the increase in nuclear power and renewable energy. Exxon expects carbon dioxide emissions to be 20% higher in 2040 due to a 50% increase in these emissions in the developing nations as they bring electricity, schools, and hospitals to more of their citizens.

Electricity demand

From 2010 to 2040, global electricity demand is projected to increase by approximately 85% as living standards rise, economies expand and electrification continues. The demand for fuel to produce that electricity is projected to rise by approximately 650% due to changes in the mix of fuels used to produce electricity and improved efficiency in power generation and transmission.

The vast majority (approximately 85%) of growth in global electricity demand through 2040 is expected to come from the developing countries, where the middle class is expanding most rapidly. China’s electricity demand is projected to grow by more than 140% between 2010 and 2040. (China has already surpassed the US as the world’s largest electricity consumer). By 2040, Exxon expects one quarter of the world’s electricity to come from China. India and other key growth countries are also expected to see large increases in electricity demand.

Exxon expects coal’s share of global electricity generation to decline from 40% in 2010 to approximately 25% in 2040 as the mix of generation sources changes. The largest increases are expected to be in natural gas and nuclear power and renewable generation from wind and solar. By 2040, natural gas, nuclear and renewables are expected to produce more than 70% of the world’s electricity.

Natural gas is expected to supply 135% more electricity in 2040 than in 2010, and overtake coal as the largest source of electricity generation. Nuclear capacity is expected to increase by approximately 90%, with major growth in China and India. Solar capacity is expected to grow by more than a factor of 20 between 2010 and 2040 and wind capacity is expected to expand by almost five times with the majority of construction onshore.

Although wind and solar are each expected to exceed global nuclear capacity by 2040, their electricity generated will be much less than that of nuclear power because of the difference in capacity factors. Nuclear power can generate electricity approximately 80 – 85% of the time, while wind and solar, however, have capacity utilisation rates significantly lower because they are intermittent sources. Therefore, additional generating utilisation rates significantly lower because they are intermittent sources. Therefore, additional generating capacity, such as natural gas fired plants, must back up wind and solar during the times when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The need for back up power than is not needed all the time adds to the cost of electricity to consumers.

Carbon dioxide emissions

Exxon expects global energy related CO2 emissions to increase by approximately 25% from 2010 to 2030 and then to decline approximately 5% to 2040. Global CO2 emissions are expected to be approximately 6 billion t higher in 2040 than they were in 2010, which is approximately half the level of emissions growth from 1980 to 2010. From 2010 to 2040, Exxon expects that emissions in the OECD countries will decline by more than 20%. By 2040, CO2 emissions in the OECD are projected to be approximately 10% below 1980 levels. CO2 in the developing countries are expected to be over 250% higher in 2040 versus 1980, due to a doubling of the population and economic output increasing by approximately 1000%.

From 2010 to 2040, CO2 emissions in the non-OECD countries are expected to increase by approximately 50%. (Those emissions surpassed emissions from the OECD countries in 2004). Exxon Expects CO2 emissions to flatten after 2030 due largely to an expected drop in China’s emissions after 2025 as its further diversifies its energy mix, reducing its dependence on coal, and it tempers its industrial growth. By 2040, non-OECD countries are expected to account for approximately 75% of the world’s energy related CO2 emissions, up from 40% in 1980.

Adapted from a report by Emma McAleavey.

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