The global energy agency has forecast that Australia is set to be one of the world’s leading coal and gas exporters, but warns energy poverty remains one of the world’s biggest killers.
In its World Energy Outlook 2014 report released, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the future prospects for Australia remained positive as economic growth in highly-populated emerging economies would sustain increased demand for energy commodities.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said the outlook was positive for the resources sector despite the current downturn in commodity prices.
‘The report forecasts Australia will regain its position as the world’s largest coal exporter before 2030 on the back of strong growth in demand from Asia,’ Mr Roche said. ‘And it’s not just coal that is set to grow with Queensland’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from Gladstone scheduled for December. Australia's gas exports are set to increase from about 20 billion cubic metres in 2012 to 114 billion cubic metres by 2040 as global demand is forecast to grow more than any other fuel source. The IEA expects fossil fuels will still make up about 75 percent of global energy supply by 2040,’ he said.
The report warns that vast numbers of people across Africa and Asia who have no access to modern energy suffer from the most extreme form of energy insecurity.
‘Yesterday in Brisbane, environmental economist Dr Bjorn Lomborg told the G20 Brisbane Global Café that indoor air pollution – a result of energy poverty and the burning of biomass indoors – was the world’s biggest killer,’ Mr Roche said. ‘Increasing access to modern forms of energy is crucial to unlocking faster economic and social development in Africa and especially sub-Saharan Africa where more than two-thirds of the population lives without electricity and many more people have no alternative to inefficient and dangerous cooking fuels. Around 730 million people in the region rely on solid biomass for cooking indoors with the resulting air pollution responsible for almost 600,000 premature deaths every year.’
The IEA report says that by 2040, an additional one billion people could have access to electricity, but that will still leave more than half a billion in energy poverty. The IEA also reports that India’s coal imports are set to skyrocket.
‘Once more this confirms the economic basis for large scale coal projects being developed in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin by Indian companies Adani and GVK Resources,’ Mr Roche said.
The IEA also paints a positive picture for uranium demand with global nuclear power capacity expected to grow by 60 percent by 2040 and slightly increase its share of global electricity production.
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