Meeting the World’s Growing Energy Demands

Home / Climate Articles and News / Meeting the World’s Growing Energy Demands
climate adaptation meeting the world's growing energy demands

Energy demands have surged globally since James Watt invented the steam engine in 1800.  Since 1900 demands have gone up 16 times, and around five times since 1950 (Hanna Richie, 2022).

Calculating energy consumed uses the “substitution method” and the “direct primary method”. The simplest way to think of the difference between these methods is that direct primary energy does not consider the energy lost in converting fossil fuels to usable energy. The substitution method does attempt to correct this loss.

Using the substitution method will result in a slight increase in the share of low-carbon energy (renewables and nuclear) to the total energy mix as the inefficiencies of fossil fuels are stripped away; when we use fossil fuels, not all are converted energy, but some are lost in the form of heat (Richie, 202 ).

When thermal power plants burn fuel, only 33% to 40% of the total amount of fossil fuel is converted to electricity (efficiency rate) and the remaining 60% to 67% is wasted as h t (Richie, 2021).

On the other hand, renewable energy incurs no losses because the quantity of electricity generated is the same quantity we can use (Richie, 2021).

Knowing this is important for calculating the global energy mix of low-carbon sources and how close we are to getting rid of fossil fuels.

Energy demands will continue to grow in the following decades, and the majority of the demands will come from Asia and Africa. And Asia is not getting rid of its co l to supply demands.  

The convenience of modern electricity and power that people in the developed world have enjoyed for decades is still mostly powered by fossil fuels. The article “Turning Bullish n Energy says that despite spending over $2.5 trillion on solar and renewables, renewables only account for 12% of US energy use.

Population growth in the developed world has flatlined, with only a modest increase of 25% projected in the next 25 to 35 years, which is also a rough equivalent of their energy demands which fossil fuels and renewable energy will mostly supply. Still, it will have to grow ten times to meet this demand.

A strong population and economic growth in developing countries mean high energy demands. And as the middle class grow in developing countries, t ey will want a modern lifestyle. Car ownership, for instance, will grow in Asia and Afri a, and so will their energy demands.

How will these energy demands be met, and where will the supplies come from? Will fossil fuels continue to account for a huge percentage of the energy supply, or will they be phased out over time as the countries transition to renewable energy?

Click the link to the article at the “Source” list below.

As energy demands continue to grow in Asia and Africa, they mustn’t continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Meeting energy security and emissions goals will require countries in the region to make significant efforts to improve energy efficiency, accelerate renewable power generation and switch to low emissions fuel.


Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser and Pablo Rosado (2022) – “Energy”. Published online at OurWorldInDa Retrieved from: ‘’ [Online Resource]

Ritchie, H. (2021, Nov mber 9). Primary e ergy production is not final energy use: what are the different ways of measuring energy? Our World in Data. Retrieved from ht ps://

Mauldin, J. (2022, October 28). Turning Bullish on Energy. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply

Translate »