The 21st Century Energy Transition of Individual Countries
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Fossil fuel reserves are finite, projected to peak by mid-century and decline thereafter, yet global demand for energy is set to increase more than 50% by 2030. It is therefore crucial for all nations to transition to largely renewable energy sources by mid-century and beyond. To gauge the extent of this problem, we established three scenarios of projected energy demand throughout the 21st century. One in which only a country’s population changes, a second that reaches 100% access to electricity by 2030, as proposed by the World Bank, and a third wherein countries achieve a ranking of “high” on the HDI by 2100 (i.e. using about 110 GJ of energy per capita per annum). Underdeveloped countries will struggle to provide even basic amounts of energy to their rapidly growing populations. For example, Nigeria will have to triple the amount of energy used by 2030 to provide energy for all, and increase 14-fold by 2100 to improve their HDI. Developing countries (e.g. Venezuela), already have 100% access to energy, but will still deplete their fossil fuel reserves before 2100. While many developed countries (e.g. the United States) use disproportionate amounts of energy. Here we find that renewable energy expansion will not only be critical for all countries to maintain their current levels of energy usage, but will be crucial for underdeveloped countries, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, if they are to develop through the 21st century while facing skyrocketing population increases and insufficient fossil-fuel reserves.
Stearns, Laura N (2016). The 21st Century Energy Transition of Individual Countries. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from