2005 and 2030, driven by robust economic growth and  expanding populations in the world’s developing countries, said the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In its latest International Energy Outlook 2008 report, the EIA said it based its prediction on 2007 oil prices, which are nearly double the 2003 prices in real terms. The report does not reflect recent substantial run-up in prices.

The EIA said that although liquid fuels are expected to remain the largest single source of energy through 2030, the liquids share of world energy consumption will decline from 37% in 2005 to 33% in 2030.

It said the share of conventional oil in the overall liquids supply will declines with expanded use of unconventional oil, biofuels, and other unconventional liquids. High oil prices will lead many consumers to switch to other fuels when feasible.

Fuel-switching and efficiency gains, for instance, slow the growth of oil use in the industrial sector. Those trends are even stronger in the IEO2008 high price case, which reflects oil prices that are closer to those being paid in mid-2008, as this report is being issued. 

The report’s other highlights said coal’s share of world energy use has increased sharply over the   past few years, and without significant changes in existing laws and policies, particularly those related to greenhouse gas emissions, robust growth is likely to continue.

Coal accounted for 24% of total world energy use in 2002 and 27% in 2005, largely as a result of rapid increases in coal use in China.

China’s coal consumption has nearly doubled since 2000. Given its rapidly expanding economy and large domestic coal deposits, its demand for coal is projected to remain strong.

Concerns about rising fossil fuel prices, energy security, and greenhouse gas emissions support the development of new nuclear generating capacity.  World nuclear capacity is projected to rise from 374 gigawatts in 2005 to 498 gigawatts in 2030.

Declines in nuclear capacity are projected only in OECD Europe, where several countries (including Germany and Belgium) have either plans or mandates to phase out nuclear power, and where some old reactors are expected to be retired and not replaced.

China is projected to add 45 gigawatts of net nuclear capacity over the projection period, India 17 gigawatts, Russia 18 gigawatts, and the US 15 gigawatts.

Sustained high prices for oil and natural gas encourage expanded use of renewable fuels.  Renewable energy sources are attractive for environmental reasons, especially in countries where reducing greenhouse gas emissions is of particular concern.

Government policies and incentives to increase renewable energy sources for electricity generation are expected to encourage the development of renewable energy even when it cannot compete economically with fossil fuels.

Worldwide, the consumption of hydroelectricity and other renewable energy sources will increase by 2.1% per year in between 2005 and 2030. In contrast, world coal consumption is seen growing by 2% per year, natural gas by 1.7% per year, nuclear by 1.5% per year, and liquids by 1.2% per year.