How much electricity do humanity consume today? How much electricity do we need in a fossil free future to maintain our way of life? And how will population growth and increased prosperity affect the global need for electricity?
Electricity consumption per capita in a selected numbers of countries (Source: CIA 2016)
USA: 12.071 kWh
South Kora: 9720kWh
United Kingdom: 4795kWh
World average: 2674kWh
Brazil: 2516 kWh
It seems like a electricity consumption of at least 5000kWh/per capita is needed in order to become a memeber of the industrialized world. That said, many industrialized countries can probably reduce their consumption significantly and still maintain a good quality of life. Unfortunately I`m afraid that what ever is gained will be leveled out because electrification of heating, industry and transport. Inefficient energy storage will also increase the need for generated electricity. My sugestion is that we should aim for a maximum annual electricity consumption per capita of 1kW⋅24h⋅365d = 8760kWh.
What to take into consideration:
- Prosperity: Have you ever seen aircon on a african mud hut?
- Natural gas for heating? This factor partly explain why for example Germany and the UK have low electricity consumption compared to many other western countires.
- Climate: The cold climate in Norway combined with low cost of electricity leads to high household electricty consumption.
- Housing: Old houses generaly need a lot of energy for heating compared to modern ones.
- Industry: Some countires have a lot of power hungry industry compared to others.
- Transport: Electrification of transport increase electricity consumption.
Fun fact: If 7,5 billion people was to consume 8760kWh annualy, the worlds electricity generation need to increase by a factor of 3! Luckily the worlds wide pupolation is expected to grow towards 12 billion!!!! *irony allert*