Barring significant changes in policies or trends, U.S. Energy Information Administration modeling forecasts increasing global energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions through 2050.
The EIA released the International Energy Outlook 2021 on Wednesday, which makes assumptions based on U.S. laws and regulations as of May 2021, and incorporates existing international laws. The report forecasts that renewable energy will be the primary source for new electricity generation, but power from natural gas, coal, and batteries will continue to meet load and provide grid stability.
Renewable energy consumption more than doubles from 2020 to 2050, according to the report, due to government policies. Coal consumption, on the other hand, is predicted to steadily decline from 2020 through 2050, though coal will remain a significant contributor to the energy mix.
"As renewables, particularly solar and wind, become cost-competitive the reference case projects that nearly all post-2020 electricity generation growth in the OECD regions will come from these sources, and that they'll displace an increasing share of existing non-renewable, mostly fossil fuel-based, sources," Angelina LaRose, assistant administrator for energy analysis at the EIA.
The EIA forecasts that global oil and natural gas production will continue to grow to support increasing consumption in developing Asian economies.