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Future energy demand and supply
Future energy demand and supply

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Future energy demand and supply


Human demand for energy has only quite recently exceeded the relatively modest amounts available locally: wind and water power, wood or dung for heat. Since the mid-19th century, expansion in the large-scale exploitation of cheap, plentiful, concentrated energy sources — the fossil fuels — has outstripped global population growth (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Population growth and global primary energy consumption from 1850 to 2000.

When you consider that the global annual consumption of primary energy increased more than ten-fold during the 20th century, the importance of planning future energy supply becomes clear. This final chapter examines how future global energy consumption might develop from its current level, and summarises the main influences on that development, including economic, environmental and technological factors.

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