Survey of Non-Communist Nations : Western Energy Use Rises 4.3% in 1984

Associated Press

Demand for energy rose 4.3% last year in the non-Communist industrialized world, trailing a 4.9% economic expansion, the International Energy Agency reported Tuesday.

The agency said preliminary forecasts point to less than 3% growth in energy use in 1985.

In previous economic recoveries, the growth in energy use has tended to surpass economic activity, said J. Wallace Hopkins, deputy executive director of the agency.

But, he said, the current lagging energy demand results from investments by industries to make plants more energy-efficient following the sharp increase in oil prices in the 1970s.

Increase Not Uniform

Energy demand did not rise uniformly around the world, however, according to the agency's preliminary figures for 1984.

The report said the rise in demand for energy in Europe and the Pacific area kept pace with economic growth, while demand for energy in North America was only 70% of the rate of economic growth.

In the United States, for example, energy demand rose by 4.6% in 1984 while the economy expanded by 6.8%.

But in Canada, where economic growth was a more moderate 5%, demand for energy rose 6.7%.

Shrinking Call for Oil

Hopkins also said that oil's share of energy use has steadily decreased in the last 10 years, dropping to 43% from about 50%.

Oil use could shrink to about 35% in the next decade as governments encourage diversification into other energy sources, he said.

While energy demand was up 4.3% last year, demand for oil rose by only 2.9%, the agency said.

Meanwhile, demand for coal rose by 4.6%, despite the prolonged miners' strike in Britain. The decision by the miners to return to work this week should result in a slight slackening of demand for heavy fuel oil, which Britain used to replace coal, Hopkins said.

Nuclear Energy Growth

Demand for natural gas increased by 5.8% last year, and nuclear energy production jumped by 18.8%.

Nuclear power plants were added in France, the United States and Japan, but Hopkins noted that the growth of nuclear energy is being measured from a relatively small statistical base and that the growth rate should moderate in the coming years.

Nuclear power accounted for 6% of total energy use in the non-Communist industrialized world last year, and the agency said the proportion is expected to double in the next 10 years. It also said coal's share of energy consumption is expected to rise to about 30% from the current 25%, while natural gas use is expected to rise slightly from its current level of 19% of energy sources.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World