Emerging markets led by China and India will drive a global boom in gas for power generation, with nuclear and renewables also rising significantly, according to a new report.

However the research from Frost & Sullivan predicts that coal will “fall massively… as developed countries decommission capacity and emerging nations become more diversified in their fuel mix”.

The study, Annual Global Power Generation Forecasts 2012, states that in the next 20 years, the traditional developed regions will lose ground in electricity demand to emerging markets.

“Rapid urbanisation and the creation of a middle class will drive electricity consumption in these economies as a wealthier population takes up electric appliances that are considered standard in the developed world.”

Frost & Sullivan predicts the bulk of this growth will come from India, China and ASEAN, with the combined share of these three regions rising from 27.5 per cent in 2010 to 40.1 per cent in 2030. It expects the power generated by China is forecast to exceed that of North America by 2015.

While gas will be the major winner in terms of power generation, it adds that nuclear will expand strongly, with Asia driving much this growth.

Strong growth also is projected for renewables, with the wind, solar PV, CSP, biomass, geothermal and marine sectors substantially expanding their share of power generation over the next two decades.

On coal, Frost & Sullivan industry director Harald Thaler said: “The growth of coal is not far behind as emerging nations such as China and India rely strongly on this fuel. Nevertheless, growth of coal fired generation is expected to fall massively during the subsequent decade as developed countries decommission capacity and emerging nations become more diversified in their fuel mix.”

Electricity demand between 2010 and 2030 will rise fastest in India according to the report, followed by the ASEAN group of nations and then China. Conversely, the three developed regions of the EU, North America and OECD APAC will all record “relatively anaemic demand growth of 1 per cent per annum or less on average, as stagnant population increases and more efficient energy use curtail demand growth”.

Thaler said: “Given their status as rapidly developing economies and future economic superpowers, it is not surprising that the share of China and India in global electricity generation is growing across all fuel sources”.

“While both countries are very strong in hydro and wind power, it is in gas and nuclear that these nations will massively outpace developments elsewhere, albeit growing from currently very modest levels.”

The report echoes the views of speakers at POWER-GEN Asia in Bangkok last month. Peter Littlewood of Hong Kong company CLP said China would soon “master the design and manufacturing of third generation nuclear reactors”, and when that time comes it will be able to “do nuclear cheaper than anyone else in the world.”

Arun Sen, chief executive of Lanco Power International, said that Asia is “not power hungry, but power starved”. He said the rising middle classes of Asia “have risen and they have said, ‘we want power and we want it now’.”

And this, he added, meant “there has never been a better time to be a power developer in the region”. If companies “do it conservatively and do it well” he said, they would never be out of business.

In the next issue of PEi – out later this month – we publish the results of a poll of delegates at POWER-GEN Asia, which highlights the opportunities in the region both now and in the future.