EIA: High-growth regions to impact international energy trade, economic development

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 365 views 

How Asia, India and Africa choose to meet rising electricity demand will have implications for international energy trade and economic development, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA released Wednesday (Oct. 14) the International Energy Outlook 2020 that focused on how market conditions might affect electricity markets in three high-growth regions: Asia, India and Africa.

“Our 2020 release of the International Energy Outlook expands on last year’s work and explores alternative cases that consider the geographic regions where growth in energy use is likely to be strongest over the next 30 years,” said EIA Administrator Linda Capuano. “The cases we consider increase regional granularity in India and Africa, and consider fuel competition in Asia, resulting in more nuanced insights into the dynamics of energy use in these areas.”

In Asia, electricity use is expected to more than double between 2019 and 2050 as a result of economic growth and increasing incomes. The EIA uses differing cases to determine how the electric demand is met. Some cases show more than half of electricity could be generated by renewables in Asia by 2050. The cases consider differing natural gas prices and renewable energy capital costs and show how the costs could shift the fuel mix for generating electricity either further toward fossil fuels or renewables.

Africa could meet rising electricity demand in different ways depending on whether development comes as an expansion of the central grid or as off-grid systems. Declining costs for solar photovoltaic installations and the rising use of off-grid distribution systems have led to technology options for the development of electricity infrastructure in Africa. Its power generation mix could shift from existing coal-fired and natural gas-fired technologies used in the central grid to off-grid resources, such as non-hydroelectric renewable generation sources.

In India, transmission infrastructure is expected to affect the options available to change the fuel mix for electricity generation. The cases in EIA’s International Energy Outlook show the ways that electricity grid interconnections impact fuel choices for electricity generation in India. The reliance on a unified grid that can transmit electricity across regions is expected to contribute to an increase in the share of renewables and a decline in the share of coal-fired generation between 2019 and 2050. More limited movement of electricity would favor existing in-region generation, which comprises fossil fuels.

Link here for the International Energy Outlook.

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