DAEGU, South Korea, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The 48 nations comprising the Asia Pacific region will collectively increase their energy demand by 67 percent between 2010 and 2035, says a new report by the Asian Development Bank.
That demand -- fueled by the region's economic growth and rising affluence -- will represent more than half of the world's consumption, says the report, released Monday at the World Energy Congress in Daegu, South Korea.
"Countries cannot meet these huge power requirements all on their own, so the region must accelerate cross-border interconnection of electricity and gas grids to improve efficiencies, cut costs, and take advantage of surplus energy," S. Chander, special senior adviser, Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships at ADB, said in a release.
Demand for coal in the region is on course to rise by more than 50 percent in the period between 2010 and 2035, or almost 2 percent a year, led mostly by China and a pickup in use in Southeast Asia as countries look for low cost options to diversify existing supply sources, the report says.
"Some members in Southeast Asia (such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) will encourage the use of coal, particularly in the power sector, to diversify the energy supply structure and to enhance energy security," the report states.
The bank also projects oil demand to grow by 2 percent a year, led by the transport sector as newly affluent South Asians increasingly purchase cars.
In India alone, ADB predicts that 118 million vehicles will be on the road in 2035, up from just 17 million in 2010.
Natural gas is expected to expand at a rate of 4 percent in that period.
But ADB warns the continued reliance on fossil fuels "presents major pricing, energy security, and environmental challenges," with Asia and the Pacific's carbon dioxide emissions expected to double by 2035, accounting for more than half the world's total output.
"Without reducing its heavy reliance on oil imports, using power more efficiently, and adopting more green energy options, the region will see a growing energy divide between the rich and poor, and increasing threats from climate change," the report states.
Peter Voser, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell, speaking at the congress Tuesday, pointed to Asia's energy demand over the next 50 years and the "historic phase" of industrialization and urbanization in the emerging economies of the region.
"The pace of change is almost inconceivable," Voser said, referring to the region. The Chinese economy, for example, is changing at 10 times the speed and 100 times the scale of Britain during the industrial revolution, he said, citing a McKinsey study.
China and India will account for the majority of global energy demand in the next two decades, Voser said.