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Breakthroughs that will shape the future of the power generation industry

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Global Energy Industry

The global market for energy consumption is forecast to grow almost 55% by 2035, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2011. The fastest rate of growth in energy consumption is represented by nations outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showing signs of economic growth: within the OECD, growth is expected to remain inferior to 20% and outside the OECD it is forecast to rise by 85%.

Factors impacting the global energy industry and its rate of growth include different rates of recovery from the worldwide 2008 recession, setbacks due to natural disasters and rising oil prices. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami crisis in March 2011 have had a knock-on effect on the use of nuclear power both in Japan and around the globe. Scarcity and political tension combined to drive oil prices higher in 2010, which have now hit $112 per barrel in early April 2011, marking a $40 per barrel rise in less than five months.

Leading Market Segments

World Energy Consumption *In Quadrillion Btu (1990-2035)

Oil Energy: Oil prices continue to climb thanks to slow growth in supply and rapid growth in emerging-market demand. With oil prices around the $100/bbl mark, strained energy budgets and governments wary of political issues that will potentially impact prices further, this segment of the global energy market remains especially volatile. In September 2011, oil prices from West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent saw an increasing gap with the former at $86/bbl and the latter at $111/bbl, reports the International Energy Agency (IEA). Oil supply in countries outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was revised to 52.8 mb/d in 2011, increasing to 53.8 mb/d for 2012. Oil stocks within the OECD rose to almost 2688 mb in July 2011, but fell under the five-year average for the first time in over three years. Worldwide Gross Domestic Product growth is currently estimated at less than 4% in 2011 and 4.2% in 2012, with oil demand estimated at close to 89.5 mb/d in 2011 and almost 91 mb/d in 2012. Global refinery crude oil runs are believed to rise almost 2 mb/d in the third quarter of 2011 on the preceding quarter to over 75.5 mb/d, and are expected to fall only slightly in the fourth quarter.

Gas Energy: Around 20% of the world’s electricity is generated from gas, according to the IEA. Global gas markets have seen demand rebound to higher levels than before the global recession in most areas. US gas prices are around half those of Asia and the EU. The IEA reports demand for gas dropped 3% in 2009, representing the largest drop in three decades. There is huge demand disparity between different regions, with OECD country demand for gas falling almost 3.5% in 2009 to 1,495 billion cubic meters (bcm) whereas demand in China and India grew between 10% and 20%.

Nuclear Energy: The nuclear energy market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 4.5% in the five-year period from 2010 to exceed $272 billion at the close fo 2015, according to MarketLine. In September 2011, there were almost 435 nuclear reactors for the generation of electricity in operation throughout 30 countries worldwide, with 65 new plants being built across less than 15 countries, reports the Nuclear Energy Institute. More than 13% of global electricity produced in 2010 came from nuclear power plants, with 15 countries meeting over 25% of their electricity demand with nuclear energy. France generated close to three quarters of its electricity from nuclear energy followed by Slovakia and Belgium at almost 52% and just over 51%, respectively. The Ukraine generated close to half its electricity from nuclear energy at 48%, and Hungary relied on nuclear for 42% of its electricity needs. Japan came in at less than 30% of its electricity, and around 27% for both Finland and Germany. The US was the world’s top nuclear generating country in 2010, producing close to 810 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), followed by France at almost 408 billion kWh. In third place was Japan at close to 280 billion kWh, followed by Russia, Korea and Germany, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Renewable Energy: Renewable energy encompasses different markets including geothermal, wind, hydro, solar, and combustion of wood and waste. In 2010, revenue from the global renewable energy market was in excess of $322 billion, reports MarketLine, showing a compound annual growth rate of almost 6.5% in the four-year period to 2010. In the five following years, MarketLine forecasts higher growth of close to 8.5%, hitting almost $480 billion at the close of 2015.

Coal Energy: The IEA estimates the world’s coal reserves are adequate to last more than 120 years at today’s rate of production. Coal accounts for 40% of the world’s electricity and use is forecast to rise more than 60% by 2030 from 2006 figures. Developing countries are the heaviest consumers, believed to use 97% of the projected total. The main drawback of coal energy is its negative impact on the environment: coal accounts for 40% of CO2 released from energy generation and consumption. Carbon Capture Storage is being looked to in the global move to combat climate change.

World Industrial Sector Energy Consumption by Fuel, *In Quadrillion Btu (2008 and 2035)

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