Senior decision-makers come together to connect around strategies and business trends affecting utilities.


Growing Power Demand

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
  • 220 items added with 76,356 views
  • Jul 8, 2021

In 1960 (in my childhood) the world had 3 billion people and used 40,000 TWH. In 2020 the world had 7.5 billion people and used 160,000 TWH.

Population was 250% higher, energy use 400% higher.

That was over 50 years.

At those rates, in 2070 the world will have over 18 billion people and will use 640,000 TWH.

Those are staggering and sobering numbers.

Not only do we need to figure out how to be far more efficient with energy, but how slow population growth - how we will feed 18 billion people is something I have no clue about. Oh course in the 1960s we wondered how we would feed 4 billion people.

Solutions to these problems need focus and smart people.

Doug Houseman's picture
Thank Doug for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member
Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 8, 2021

Doug, lately it's been hard to view any proverbial glass as half-full. But with the COVID-19 vaccines proving successful, I feel oddly hopeful again.

"Not only do we need to figure out how to be far more efficient with energy..."

Either that, or we need to figure out how to generate cheap, abundant, carbon-free energy - then efficiency becomes irrelevant. Fortunately, we already have.

...but how [to] slow population growth."

Fortunately, we already know how to slow population growth: increase global prosperity (developed countries have always had lower birthrates).

"Solutions to these problems need focus and smart people."

Fortunately, we have many, many smart people, and the smart people in climate science agree: nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change.

It's the "focus" - listening to what they have to say. That's the hard part.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jul 8, 2021


Wondering where did you get the electricity numbers?? or are you converting all energy usage to TWh? Electricity usage has only grown by 5,000 TWh in last 10 years.

In 1960 (in my childhood) the world had 3 billion people and used 40,000 TWH. In 2020 the world had 7.5 billion people and used 160,000 TWH.


As far as the population numbers the relevant question is really - when will the world as a whole join countries like Japan where population is already declining? 

Census Finds Japan’s Population Declined by More than 800,000 in Five Years


There are many countries around the world already experiencing negative population growth. China population may start declining this decade and there is some speculation that the government is exaggerating population numbers and the the population has already started to decline there. Note: the workforce aged population has already been declining for years.


The only regions of the world that will show growth between now and 2050 are Africa and possibly India.


Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »