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Middle East energy consumption could rise 114% by 2050

Primary energy supply in the Middle East and North Africa is forecast to grow by between 81 and 114 per cent between 2010-2050, according to the World Energy Congress.

Energy consumption in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to rise by as much as 114 per cent from 2010 to 2050, says a World Energy Council report.

The region’s energy consumption forecast is based on a scenario in which priority is given to achieving individual access and affordability of energy via economic growth, according to the World Energy Scenarios report, released yesterday at the World Energy Congress.

However, energy consumption in the region would increase by 81 per cent under a second scenario in which emphasis is placed on international coordination and environmental sustainability, the report found.

Although total global energy consumption is set to rise between 27 and 61 per cent from 2010 to 2050, both scenarios represent a slowdown in growth compared to previous decades, the report stressed.

“From 1990 to 2010 – which is roughly half the time span covered in this scenario study – total global primary energy consumption rose by approximately 45 per cent,” according to the report.

Its conclusions follow a three-year study conducted by more than 60 specialists from nearly 30 countries, with modelling provided by the Paul Scherrer Institute, a Swiss research centre.

The report predicted that renewable energy sources such as solar and hydro power would record the biggest growth globally in the next 40 years, reaching 20 to 30 per cent of the energy mix.

Solar energy is forecast to record the largest growth globally during the period, with production to rise up to 7,740 terawatt hours a year by 2050, from just 34 terawatt hours in 2010. (A terawatt-hour can power a city of 200,000 people for a year.)

Such an increase would equate to US$9.66 trillion worth of investment in solar, representing the largest potential investment area of any renewable energy resource, the report found.

Despite such increases fossil fuels would continue to account for the majority of energy supplies, supplying from 59 to 77 per cent of the global primary energy mix.

While coal, oil and gas accounted for 95 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa’s primary energy mix in 2010, the region’s attempts at diversification are expected to begin to pay dividends by 2050.

Biomass, hydropower and renewables will together account for 13.3 per cent to 20.7 per cent of the region’s energy mix by 2050, up from 5.2 per cent in 2010, the report found.

To cater to the rising electricity needs generated by economic development to 2050, the World Energy Council estimates a global investment of $19tn to $25tn will be required for electricity generation alone, with the majority of investments required being directed towards solar photovoltaic, hydro and wind power.

“While there will be opportunities in the future for a range of technology solutions, the ultimate issue is that demand continues to grow at an unsustainable rate,” said Karl Rose, the senior director of policies and scenarios at the council.


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