Asian power behemoths drive world electricity demand

Paul Boughton

Globally, the demand for electricity will escalate between 2010 and 2030, especially in the developing regions, due to a growing middle class and rapid urbanisation. As the spending power of the people in those regions rises, so will their uptake of electric appliances.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Annual Global Power Generation Forecasts 2011, finds that electricity generation will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7 per cent through 2020, with the growth rate declining to 1.8 per cent per annum over the subsequent decade, as growth in the emerging markets is reduced and energy-efficiency measures begin to have a greater impact.

Over the next two decades, the combined share of demand for electricity from the developed regions of European Union (EU), North America and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Asia Pacific (OECD APAC) will drop from 49.6 per cent to 37.5 per cent. The bulk of demand is expected to come from India and China, with the combined share of these two countries alone rising from 23.6 per cent in 2010 to 34.5 per cent in 2030.

“China’s and India’s role and future impact are most prominent in the area of coal-fired power generation, where they accounted for 43.8 per cent of the world total in 2010, and this is forecast to rise to 57 per cent by 2030,” says Frost & Sullivan’s Industry Director for Power Generation, Harald Thaler. “Both countries are also very strong in hydro and wind power generation, with China expanding in hydro and India in wind power.”

Renewable energy is expected to be widely adopted, as governments aim to curb fossil fuel emissions, partly in order to comply with international agreements on climate change and partly to support new industries in the field of the green economy.

All fuel sources, apart from oil, will expand, but coal will remain the dominant source, still accounting for nearly 28 per cent of installed capacity and over 34 per cent of electricity generation in 2030.

“China and India are both expected to see strong growth in renewable energy and nuclear power as they aim to diversify away from fossil-fired generation,” observes Thaler. “The highest non-fossil electricity generation growth, however, will be in the Middle East and Africa, where solar power developments, in particular, will receive increased attention.”

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