The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration has delayed the release of their International Energy Outlook for the fourth time. It was originally scheduled to be released in the spring of 2015. When I contacted a member of staff, she said that they ‘had problems with their model.’
This almost certainly affects me more than almost every other human on the planet, so I won’t be upset if you don’t share my growing impatience. My other weblog, 3000 Quads, contains about two years of work showing that we’re going to use more energy in future than we currently are estimating. I based my calculations for ongoing energy consumption on the DOE’s previous reports and I need to use their model to compare apples to apples. Faithful readers know that I am extremely concerned about future energy consumption in the developing world. Not that I want it to stop–they deserve to use the energy they need to develop–I just want it calculated properly.
I challenged the DOE numbers–they predicted growth in energy consumption in the developing world at 2.4% per year through 2040, while my figures show growth at almost double that rate. (My figures agree almost perfectly with theirs for energy consumption in the developed world.)
Nobody on this planet would be happier than me if I prove to be wrong. If the DOE’s earlier predictions are right, conventional calculations about how much energy we can use without tipping the atmosphere over into a soup of conventional pollution and CO2 can stand (although the models used to generate those estimated levels surely need work).
However, if my figures are correct we stand to consume almost six times as much energy in 2075 as we did in 2010. My calculations are based on comparing energy consumption trajectories for countries developing now with similar countries that went through a development cycle similar in the recent past. The anecdote from 2015 that I would refer to today is the 8% growth in purchases of air conditioners in India.
My calculations are higher than the DOE, higher than the International Energy Agency and higher than BP. I take some small comfort in the fact that some published reports (by Roger Pielke Jr. for one, and Dan Nocera for another) have come up with similar totals to mine.
As I said, I hope I’m wrong. So far, I’ve seen no evidence that I am. The Department of Energy could have calmed my fears a year ago. I’m frustrated that I have to continue waiting. Sigh…
So, you good folks at the DOE EIA…