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All forms of energy necessary, says ExxonMobil

The world will require all forms of energy over the next quarter century to meet a greater than one-third increase in demand, says ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 forecast report.

Demand will be driven by population growth, improved living standards and expanded urbanization, the company says.

“Understanding global energy trends is absolutely critical for effective energy policy,” said Rex W Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil. “The world depends on safe, reliable and affordable energy development to support economic growth and our modern way of life.”

In the forecast, ExxonMobil projects that future energy needs – expected to be about 35 per cent higher in 2040 than 2010 – will be supported by more efficient energy-saving practices and technologies, increased use of less-carbon-intensive fuels such as natural gas, nuclear and renewables as well as the continued development of technology advances to develop new energy sources. Without gains in efficiency, global energy demand could have risen by more than 100 per cent.

The report suggest  that renewable energy supplies – including traditional biomass, hydro and geothermal as well as wind, solar and biofuels – will grow by nearly 60 per cent. Wind, solar and biofuels are likely to make up about 4 per cent of energy supplies in 2040, up from 1 per cent in 2010.

Meanwhile oil and natural gas will continue to meet about 60 per cent of energy needs by 2040. An expected 25 per cent increase in demand for oil, led by increased commercial transportation activity, will be met through technology advances that enable deep-water production and development of oil sands and tight oil.

Natural gas will continue to be the fastest-growing major fuel source as demand increases by about 65 percent, while nuclear energy will see solid growth despite some countries scaling back their nuclear expansion plans following the 2011 Fukushima incident in Japan. Growth will be led by the Asia Pacific region, where nuclear output is projected to increase from 3 per cent of total energy in 2010 to nearly 9 per cent by 2040. 

Energy used for power generation will continue to be the largest component of global demand and is expected to grow by more than 50 per cent by 2040 as improved living standards that come with urbanization and rising incomes lead to increased household and industrial electricity consumption through wider penetration of electronics, appliances and other modern conveniences. The growth reflects an expected 90 per cent increase in electricity use, led by developing countries where 1.3 billion people are currently without access to electricity.

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