The drop-off in demand accelerated in the first quarter of 2009, with electricity consumption falling by 4.7% compared to the first quarter of 2008. OECD electricity demand fell by an estimated 2.7% in the second quarter. Demand also weakened in non-OECD regions. In China, for example, demand fell by a staggering 7.1% in the fourth quarter of 2008, by 4% in the fi st quarter of 2009 and by an estimated 0.6% in the second quarter.
Electricity growth is expected to fall most dramatically in Russia due to slumping gas and oil earnings, followed by a decrease in usage across the OECD. This drop in demand is reducing the need for new capacity and driving down power-sector investment. In turn, needs are being fulfilled by lower capital options, which usually favor older technologies, such as natural gas and coal, instead of newer, costlier investment in greener energy from nuclear and renewable sources.
World Energy Outlook 2009, available at www.oecd.org/bookshop, ISBN 978-92-64-06130-9
©OECD Observer No 276-277 December 2009-January 2010