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May 14, 2012

What world per capita energy demands mean for energy infrastructure

3,000 kWhr per person per year is just to have what we consider a decent life, this means the world must produce over 30 trillion kWhrs per year just to eradicate global poverty, war and terrorism.

The 3000 kilowatt hour per person per year plan is less than half of the energy used by European countries and one quarter of what is used by the United States. If the rest of the world catches up to current levels of developed world wealth then this level of per capita energy use is a lower end expectation and does not allow for people to achieve greater wealth. Two to three times the per capita energy is a better plan for the mid 21st century.

Nationmaster has the energy consumption per capita by nation.

# 11 United States: 12,747 kWh per capita (2008)
# 23 Japan: 7,701 kWh per capita (2006)
# 28 France: 7,328 kWh per capita (2006)
# 37 Germany: 6,642 kWh per capita (2007)
# 72 Poland: 3,357 kWh per capita (2007)
# 82 Turkey: 2,755 kWh per capita (2008)
# 86 China: 2,585 kWh per capita (2008)

Without a more sustainable and balanced energy mix, the increase in fossil fuels will be appalling and costly, and the environmental effects devastating. To counter this future dystopia, we propose a ⅓-⅓-⅓: a third fossil fuel, a third renewable and a third nuclear. To achieve this will require heroic efforts and infrastructure construction on a scale this planet has never seen:

a. Replacement of all existing coal with a combination of combined cycle gas and fluidized bed coal reactors which are somewhat cleaner,

b. 3 trillion kWhrs/year from hydroelectric

c. 1,700 new nuclear reactors to produce electricity totaling 10 trillion kWhrs/year from GenIII and GenIV designs including small modulars (China, alone, is planning about 400 new reactors)

d. Over two million 3+ MW wind turbines or equivalent totaling 3 trillion kWhrs/year

e. Concentrated, ordinary and distributed solar arrays totaling 3 trillion kWhrs/year

f. 100 bbl/yr of biofuels from algae, cellulosics and high-efficiency biomass, not ethanol

g. Over a trillion kWhrs/year from other alternatives such as wave, tidal and biogas.

The cost to implement and operate this mix will be about $65 trillion over 50 years, about $30 trillion of that in construction alone.

A business-as-usual mix of two-thirds fossil fuel would cost about the same to provide 30 trillion kWhrs/yr, with slightly less capital costs but more fuel and O&M costs.) About 2% of global GDP will be needed annually to provide for either of these futures




I have previously explained that the poor people in the developing countries and in the developed world want to achieve greater wealth. Having a bad plan where they are forced to settle for 25% of what the average American has per capita has now will not be enough.

China is already blowing by the 25% of American per capita energy usage.

In 2011 China's annual generation was 4692.8 TWh. This was 3481 kWh per capita. China's energy growth is still about 7% per year.

India, Indonesia, other part of Asia, large parts of Africa are all catching up with 5-8% GDP growth per year.

Technological breathroughs could accelerate GDP growth

Increasing growth every 20 years
Year    flat 6% 6-11%   6-18%
  
2015    100     100     100    (trillions of dollars, World GDP PPP)
    
2020    134     134     134  
  
2030    241     241     241    2.5 times energy
                               30K per cap  
    
2040    431     474     571    3-4 times energy
                               50-70K per cap 
    
2050    770     940    1390    5-10 times     (10^14 watts, 100 terawatts)
                               80K-140K per cap 
    
2060    1380   2000    4300    10-20 times energy
                               140K-430K per cap
    
2070    2500   4500   13700    15-40 times energy
                               250k-1.37 Million per cap
    
2080    4400  11600   56000    20-80 times energy
                               440K-5.6 M per cap  


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