As the world’s population continues to soar, energy demand is growing at a dramatic pace. Fueled in large part by Asia, and specifically China and India, global demand is expected to increase 53% between 2008 and 2035. Members of the OECD, which tend to be more established economies, are expected to grow by only about 0.6% per year, while non-OECD states at a rate nearly four times higher.
Recent history illustrates this eastward shift. In 2009, as the United States began to emerge from its recession, its energy consumption declined by 5.3%. In that same year, China’s energy consumption is estimated to have eclipsed the United States for the first time. The US Energy Information Administration models predict that by 2035, China’s energy consumption will be 68% higher than the United States.
While growth in renewables is expected to be significant, it is roughly in line with other technologies. Liquid fuels like oil and nuclear are expected to grow more slowly, while coal and natural gas will continue a solid gain.
EIA categorizes energy consumption by four areas: transportation (mostly dominated by liquid fuels), residential, commercial, and industrial. These categories allow for more refined and accurate projections and are also very important when considering the types of solar energy systems that will have the most important impacts across the globe, as well as highlighting the best target markets for each.