Power production surges worldwide



Worldwide electricity production and consumption continue to rise despite the slowdown in the US economy and the general downturn in Europe and Central Asia, according to the World Bank.


The increase is due to the rapid growth of developing economies, particularly in East and South Asia.


Developing economies now exceed $24trillion (Dh88.25trn)  in output and in East Asia alone the combined economies produce $8trn worth of goods and services.
The power increase was most notable in East Asia, where electricity production has risen to three trillion kilowatt hours (kWh), a 280 per cent increase since 1990, the bank’s “World Development Indicators 2008” report showed. China, which produces 2.5trn kWh of electricity, was the main contributor to the global increase.
“Electricity may be a clean fuel by itself but no matter how it is produced – whether from fossil fuels, nuclear fuels or through hydropower – it has an impact on the environment,” said Eric Swanson, programme manager at the World Bank Development Data Group.


“In China, for example, coal is used to generate almost 80 per cent of the electricity, and coal is the cheapest and dirtiest source of energy in the world – it contributes enormously to global warming.”


According to the US Department of Energy Information Administration, the electric power sector is slated to account for about two-thirds of the world’s coal consumption until 2030 and the industrial sector accounts for most of the remainder. China’s industrial sector is projected to account for 78 per cent of the total net increase in industrial coal use worldwide.


China has abundant coal resources, limited reserves of oil and natural gas and a leading position in world steel production. The latest International Energy Outlook report projects an 85 per cent increase in world net electricity generation between 2004 and 2030.


It says the 2004 figure of 16.4trn kWh will grow to 22.2trn kWh in 2015 and 30.3trn kWh in 2030.


Most of the projected increase in demand is in the non-OECD (Organisation for  Economic Co-operation and Development) nations, where electricity generation is set to increase on average by 3.5 per cent per year from 2004 to 2030, compared to 1.3 per cent per year in the OECD nations.


Coal and natural gas remain the most important fuels for electricity generation throughout the projection period, together accounting for 80 per cent of the total increase in world electric power generation from 2004 to 2030. Despite the global increase, however, about 1.6 billion people in the world still lack access to an electrical connection, Swanson said.