Global energy consumption, measured in exajoules per year: Coal, oil, and natural gas remain the primary global energy sources even as renewables have begun rapidly increasing.[1]
Primary energy consumption by source (worldwide) from 1965 to 2020.[2]

World energy supply and consumption refers to the global primary energy production, energy conversion and trade, and final consumption of energy. Energy can be used in various different forms, as processed fuels or electricity, or for various different purposes, like for transportation or electricity generation. Energy production and consumption are an important part of the economy. A serious problem concerning energy production and consumption is greenhouse gas emissions. Of about 50 billion tonnes worldwide annual total greenhouse gas emissions,[3] 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide was emitted due to energy (almost all from fossil fuels) in 2021.[4]

The goal set in the Paris Agreement to limit climate change will be difficult to achieve.[5] Many scenarios have been envisioned to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, usually by the name of net zero by 2050. As of 2022, energy consumption is still about 80% from fossil fuels.[6] The Gulf States and Russia are major energy exporters, with notable customers being the European Union and China, where domestically not enough energy is produced in order to satisfy energy demand. Energy consumption generally increases about 1-2% per year,[7] except for solar and wind energy which averaged 20% per year in the 2010s.[8][9]

The energy that is produced, like from fossil fuels, is processed in order to make it suitable for consumption by end users. The energy supply chain from initial production and final consumption involves many different activities, causing a loss of useful energy ultimately,[10] see exergy.

Energy consumption per capita in North America is very high, while in less developed countries it is low and usually more renewable.[11][12] There is a clear connection between energy consumption per capita, and GDP per capita.[13]

Availability of data

Many countries publish statistics on the energy supply and consumption of either their own country, of other countries of interest, or of all countries combined in one chart. One of the largest organizations in this field, the International Energy Agency (IEA), sells yearly comprehensive energy data which makes this data paywalled and difficult to access for internet users.[14] The organization Enerdata on the other hand publishes a free Yearbook, making the data more accessible.[6] Another trustworthy organization that provides accurate energy data, mainly referring to the USA, is the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Primary energy production

Further information: List of countries by electricity production, Nuclear power by country, List of countries by oil production, List of countries by natural gas production, and List of countries by coal production

World total primary energy consumption by type in 2020[15]

  Oil (31.2%)
  Coal (27.2%)
  Natural Gas (24.7%)
  Hydro (renewables) (6.9%)
  Nuclear (4.3%)
  Others (renewables) (5.7%)
World map with primary energy use per person in 2021[16]

2021 world electricity generation by source (total generation was 28 petawatt-hours)[17]

  Coal (36%)
  Natural gas (23%)
  Hydro (15%)
  Nuclear (10%)
  Wind (7%)
  Solar (4%)
  Other (5%)

This is the worldwide production of energy, extracted or captured directly from natural sources. In energy statistics, primary energy (PE) refers to the first stage where energy enters the supply chain before any further conversion or transformation process.

Energy production is usually classified as:

Primary energy assessment by IEA follows certain rules[note 1] to ease measurement of different kinds of energy. These rules are controversial. Water and air flow energy that drives hydro and wind turbines, and sunlight that powers solar panels, are not taken as PE, which is set at the electric energy produced. But fossil and nuclear energy are set at the reaction heat, which is about three times the electric energy. This measurement difference can lead to underestimating the economic contribution of renewable energy.[18]

Enerdata displays data for "Total energy / production: Coal, Oil, Gas, Biomass, Heat and Electricity" and for "Renewables / % in electricity production: Renewables, non-renewables".[6]

The table lists worldwide PE and the countries producing most (76%) of that in 2021, using Enerdata. The amounts are rounded and given in million tonnes of oil equivalent per year (1 Mtoe = 11.63 TWh (3.23 megajoules), where 1 TWh = 109 kWh) and % of Total. Renewable is Biomass plus Heat plus renewable percentage of Electricity production (hydro, wind, solar). Nuclear is nonrenewable percentage of Electricity production. The above-mentioned underestimation of hydro, wind and solar energy, compared to nuclear and fossil energy, applies also to Enerdata.

The 2021 world total energy production of 14800 MToe corresponds to a little over 172 PWh / year, or about 19.6 TW of power generation.

Largest Primary Energy producers (76% of world production) as of 2021, given in million tonnes of oil equivalent per year
Total (MToe) Coal Oil & Gas Renewable Nuclear
China 2,950 71% 13% 10% 6%
United States 2,210 13% 69% 8% 10%
Russia 1,516 16% 78% 2% 4%
Saudi Arabia 610 0 100% 0 0
Iran 354 0 99% 0 1%
United Arab Emirates 218 0 99% 0 1%
India 615 50% 11% 33% 6%
Canada 536 5% 81% 10% 4%
Indonesia 451 69% 17% 14% 0
Australia 423 64% 33% 3% 0
Brazil 325 1% 55% 42% 2%
Nigeria 249 0 47% 53% 0
Algeria 150 0 100% 0 0
South Africa 151 91% 1% 8% 0
Norway 214 0 93% 7% 0
France 128 0 1% 34% 65%
Germany 102 27% 3% 47% 23%
World 14800 27% 53% 13% 7%

Energy conversion and trade

Nation Export minus Import in 2021 (MToe)[19]
Russia 682
Saudi Arabia 388
Australia 296
Canada 245
Indonesia 226
Norway 185
Italy -114
Turkey -118
Germany -187
South Korea -239
India -323
Japan -357
China -803
Primary energy sources are transformed by the energy sector to generate energy carriers.

Primary energy is converted in many ways to energy carriers, also known as secondary energy:[20]

Electricity generators are driven by steam or gas turbines in a thermal plant, or water turbines in a hydropower station, or wind turbines, usually in a wind farm. The invention of the solar cell in 1954 started electricity generation by solar panels, connected to a power inverter. Mass production of panels around the year 2000 made this economic.

Much primary and converted energy is traded among countries. The table lists countries with large difference of export and import in 2021, expressed in Mtoe. A negative value indicates that much energy import is needed for the economy.[19] Russian gas exports were reduced a lot in 2022,[21] as pipelines to Asia plus LNG export capacity is much less than the gas no longer sent to Europe.[22]

Transport of energy carriers is done by tanker ship, tank truck, LNG carrier, rail freight transport, pipeline and by electric power transmission.

Total energy supply

Total Energy Supply and Primary Energy (in MToe)
TES PE
China 3,650 2,950
India 927 615
Russia 811 1,516
Japan 400 52
S-Korea 298 151
Canada 289 536
Germany 286 102
Saudi Arabia 219 610
World TES history (in Million Tons of Energy Equivalent)
Year TES
1990 8,700
2000 9,900
2010 12,600
2019 14,400
2020 13,800
2021 14,500

Total energy supply (TES) indicates the sum of production and imports subtracting exports and storage changes.[23] For the whole world TES nearly equals primary energy PE because imports and exports cancel out, but for countries TES and PE differ in quantity, and also in quality as secondary energy is involved, e.g., import of an oil refinery product. TES is all energy required to supply energy for end users.

The tables list TES and PE for some countries where these differ much, both in 2021 and TES history. Most growth of TES since 1990 occurred in Asia. The amounts are rounded and given in Mtoe. Enerdata labels TES as Total energy consumption.[24]

25% of worldwide primary production is used for conversion and transport, and 6% for non-energy products like lubricants, asphalt and petrochemicals.[14] In 2019 TES was 606 EJ and final consumption was 418 EJ, 69% of TES.[25] Most of the energy lost by conversion occurs in thermal electricity plants and the energy industry own use.

Discussion about energy loss

Further information: Energy quality and Fuel cell § Theoretical maximum efficiency

There are different qualities of energy. Heat, especially at a relatively low temperature, is low-quality energy, whereas electricity is high-quality energy. It takes around 3 kWh of heat to produce 1 kWh of electricity. But by the same token, a kilowatt-hour of this high-quality electricity can be used to pump several kilowatt-hours of heat into a building using a heat pump. Electricity can be used in many ways in which heat cannot. So the loss of energy incurred in thermal electricity plants is not comparable to a loss due to, say, resistance in power lines, because of quality differences.

In fact, the loss in thermal plants is due to poor conversion of chemical energy of fuel to electricity by combustion. Chemical energy of fuel is not low-quality because conversion to electricity in fuel cells can theoretically approach 100%. So energy loss in thermal plants is real loss.

Final consumption

World total final consumption of 9,717 Mtoe by region in 2017 (IEA, 2019)[26]

  OECD (38.2%)
  Middle East (5.1%)
  Non-OECD Eurasia (7.5%)
  China (20.6%)
  Rest of Asia (13.5%)
  Non-OECD Americas (4.8%)
  Africa (6.1%)
  International aviation and marine bunkers (4.2%)

Total final consumption (TFC) is the worldwide consumption of energy by end-users (whereas primary energy consumption (Eurostat)[27] or total energy supply (IEA) is total energy demand and thus also includes what the energy sector uses itself and transformation and distribution losses). This energy consists of fuel (78%) and electricity (22%). The tables list amounts, expressed in million tonnes of oil equivalent per year (1 Mtoe = 11.63 TWh) and how much of these is renewable energy. Non-energy products are not considered here. The data are of 2018.[14][28] The world's renewable share of TFC was 18% in 2018: 7% traditional biomass, 3.6% hydropower and 7.4% other renewables.[29]

In the period 2005–2017 worldwide final consumption of coal increased by 23%, of oil and gas increased by 18%, and that of electricity increased by 41%.[14]

Fuel comes in three types: Fossil fuel is natural gas, fuel derived from petroleum (LPG, gasoline, kerosene, gas/diesel, fuel oil), or from coal (anthracite, bituminous coal, coke, blast furnace gas). Secondly, there is renewable fuel (biofuel and fuel derived from waste). And lastly, the fuel used for district heating.

The amounts of fuel in the tables are based on lower heating value.

The first table lists final consumption in the countries/regions which use most (85%), and per person as of 2018. In developing countries fuel consumption per person is low and more renewable. Canada, Venezuela and Brazil generate most electricity with hydropower.

Final consumption in most using countries and per person (as of 2018) [14][28]
Fuel
Mtoe
of which
renewable
Electricity
Mtoe
of which
renewable
TFC pp
toe
China 1,436 6% 555 30% 1.4
United States 1,106 8% 339 19% 4.4
Europe 982 11% 309 39% 2.5
Africa 531 58% 57 23% 0.5
India 487 32% 104 25% 0.4
Russia 369 1% 65 26% 3.0
Japan 201 3% 81 19% 2.2
Brazil 166 38% 45 78% 1.0
Indonesia 126 21% 22 14% 0.6
Canada 139 8% 45 83% 5.0
Iran 147 0% 22 6% 2.1
Mexico 95 7% 25 18% 1.0
S-Korea 85 5% 46 5% 2.6
Australia 60 7% 18 21% 3.2
Argentina 42 7% 11 27% 1.2
Venezuela 20 3% 6 88% 0.9
World 7050 14% 1970 30% 1.2

The next table shows countries consuming most (85%) in Europe.

Countries consuming most (85%) in Europe as of 2018.
Country Fuel
Mtoe
of which
renewable
Electricity
Mtoe
of which
renewable
Germany 156 10% 45 46%
France 100 12% 38 21%
United Kingdom 95 5% 26 40%
Italy 87 9% 25 39%
Spain 60 10% 21 43%
Poland 58 12% 12 16%
Ukraine 38 5% 10 12%
Netherlands 36 4% 9 16%
Belgium 26 8% 7 23%
Sweden 20 35% 11 72%
Austria 20 19% 5 86%
Romania 19 20% 4 57%
Finland 18 34% 7 39%
Portugal 11 20% 4 67%
Denmark 11 15% 3 71%
Norway 8 16% 10 100%

Energy for energy

Main article: Energy return on investment

Some fuel and electricity is used to construct, maintain and demolish/recycle installations that produce fuel and electricity, such as oil platforms, uranium isotope separators and wind turbines. For these producers to be economical the ratio of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) or energy return on investment (EROI) should be large enough.

If the final energy delivered for consumption is E and the EROI equals R, then the net energy available is E-E/R. The percentage available energy is 100-100/R. For R>10 more than 90% is available but for R=2 only 50% and for R=1 none. This steep decline is known as the net energy cliff.[30]

Trends and outlook

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant decline in energy usage worldwide in 2020, but total energy demand worldwide had recovered by 2021, and has hit a record high in 2022.[31]

IEA scenarios

In World Energy Outlook 2023 the IEA notes that "We are on track to see all fossil fuels peak before 2030".[32]: 18  The IEA presents three scenarios:[32]: 17 

  1. The Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS) provides an outlook based on the latest policy settings. The share of fossil fuel in global energy supply – stuck for decades around 80% – starts to edge downwards and reaches 73% by 2030.[32]: 18  This undercuts the rationale for any increase in fossil fuel investment.[32]: 19  Renewables are set to contribute 80% of new power capacity to 2030, with solar PV alone accounting for more than half.[32]: 20  The STEPS sees a peak in energy-related CO2 emissions in the mid-2020s but emissions remain high enough to push up global average temperatures to around 2.4 °C in 2100.[32]: 22  Total energy demand continues to increase through to 2050.[32]: 23  Total energy investment remains at about USD 3 trillion per year.[32]: 49 
  2. The Announced Pledges Scenario (APS) assumes all national energy and climate targets made by governments are met in full and on time. The APS is associated with a temperature rise of 1.7 °C in 2100 (with a 50% probability).[32]: 92  Total energy investment rises to about USD 4 trillion per year after 2030.[32]: 49 
  3. The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) Scenario limits global warming to 1.5 °C.[32]: 17  The share of fossil fuel reaches 62% in 2030.[32]: 101  Methane emissions from fossil fuel supply cuts by 75% in 2030.[32]: 45  Total energy investment rises to almost USD 5 trillion per year after 2030.[32]: 49  Clean energy investment needs to rise everywhere, but the steepest increases are needed in emerging market and developing economies other than China, requiring enhanced international support.[32]: 46  The share of electricity in final consumption exceeds 50% by 2050 in NZE. The share of nuclear power in electricity generation remains broadly stable over time in all scenarios, about 9%.[32]: 106 

Alternative scenarios

Alternative scenarios for achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals have been developed, using IEA data but proposing transition to nearly 100% renewables by mid-century, along with steps such as reforestation. Nuclear power and carbon capture are excluded in these scenarios.[33] The researchers say the costs will be far less than the $5 trillion per year governments currently spend subsidizing the fossil fuel industries responsible for climate change.[33]: ix 

In the +2.0 C (global warming) Scenario total primary energy demand in 2040 can be 450 EJ = 10755 Mtoe, or 400 EJ = 9560 Mtoe in the +1.5 Scenario, well below the current production. Renewable sources can increase their share to 300 EJ in the +2.0 C Scenario or 330 EJ in the +1.5 Scenario in 2040. In 2050 renewables can cover nearly all energy demand. Non-energy consumption will still include fossil fuels.[33]: xxvii Fig. 5 

Global electricity generation from renewable energy sources will reach 88% by 2040 and 100% by 2050 in the alternative scenarios. "New" renewables—mainly wind, solar and geothermal energy—will contribute 83% of the total electricity generated.[33]: xxiv  The average annual investment required between 2015 and 2050, including costs for additional power plants to produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels and for plant replacement, will be around $1.4 trillion.[33]: 182 

Shifts from domestic aviation to rail and from road to rail are needed. Passenger car use must decrease in the OECD countries (but increase in developing world regions) after 2020. The passenger car use decline will be partly compensated by strong increase in public transport rail and bus systems.[33]: xxii Fig.4 

CO2 emission can reduce from 32 Gt in 2015 to 7 Gt (+2.0 Scenario) or 2.7 Gt (+1.5 Scenario) in 2040, and to zero in 2050.[33]: xxviii 

See also

Lists

Notes

  1. ^ IEA Primary energy assessment: See [1] Archived 11 June 2021 at the Wayback Machine, chapter 7

References

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