Nuclear power is no solution to the world’s energy problems. Not even close.
It’s important for electric power but electric power is not even 40% of the world’s energy supply—nor is it expected to increase much over the next 30 years.
IEA projects that nuclear power will account for only 5.5% of world energy supply in 2050 (Figure 1). That’s an increase of only 0.5% from 2020.
Nuclear power has limited application beyond electric power generation and some heating capability. Yet the outlook is not much better for nuclear to increase as a major source of electric power either. IEA’s most-likely scenario is for nuclear to account for only 12.5% of electric power supply in 2050 (Figure 2).
Electric power currently accounts for about 39% of world energy supply (Figure 3). IEA estimates that it will only increase to about 41% by 2050.
EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2021 is largely in agreement with IEA’s assessment of both electric and nuclear power. Unlike IEA, however, EIA provides data to account for the considerable energy losses during power generation, transmission and distribution. The losses amounted to 64% in 2020 (Table 1).
When losses are included, net electric power to the grid is expected to increase from 19% in 2020 to 28% in 2050 (Figure 4) instead of 41% in IEA’s evaluation shown above in Figure 3.
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