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Typically measured per-year, it involves all energy harnessed from every energy source we use, applied towards humanity's endeavors across every industrial and technological sector, across every country. Being the power source metric of civilization, World Energy Consumption has deep implications for humanity's social-economic-political sphere.
Institutions such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the European Environment Agency record and publish energy data periodically. Improved data and understanding of World Energy Consumption may reveal systemic trends and patterns, which could help frame current energy issues and encourage movement towards collectively useful solutions.
According to IEA (2012) the climate goal of limiting warming to 2°C is becoming more difficult and costly with each year that passes. If action is not taken before 2017, all the allowable CO2 emissions would be locked-in by energy infrastructure existing in 2017. Fossil fuels are dominant in the global energy mix, supported by $523 billion subsidies in 2011, up almost 30% on 2010 and six times more than subsidies to renewables.
Fossil energy use increased most in 2000-2008. In October 2012 the IEA noted that coal accounted for half the increased energy use of the prior decade, growing faster than all renewable energy sources. Since Chernobyl disaster in 1986 investments in nuclear power have been small.
|Energy use (PWh)|
The energy consumption growth in the G20 slowed down to 2% in 2011, after the strong increase of 2010. The economic crisis is largely responsible for this slow growth. For several years now, the world energy demand is characterized by the bullish Chinese and Indian markets, while developed countries struggle with stagnant economies, high oil prices, resulting in stable or decreasing energy consumption.
According to IEA data from 1990 to 2008, the average energy use per person increased 10% while world population increased 27%. Regional energy use also grew from 1990 to 2008: the Middle East increased by 170%, China by 146%, India by 91%, Africa by 70%, Latin America by 66%, the USA by 20%, the EU-27 block by 7%, and world overall grew by 39%.
In 2008, total worldwide energy consumption was 474 exajoules (132,000 TWh). This is equivalent to an average power use of 15 terawatts (2.0×1010 hp). The annual potential for renewable energy is: solar energy 1,575 EJ (438,000 TWh), wind power 640 EJ (180,000 TWh), geothermal energy 5,000 EJ (1,400,000 TWh), biomass 276 EJ (77,000 TWh), hydropower 50 EJ (14,000 TWh) and ocean energy 1 EJ (280 TWh).
Energy consumption in the G20 increased by more than 5% in 2010 after a slight decline of 2009. In 2009, world energy consumption decreased for the first time in 30 years, by −1.1%—equivalent to 130 megatonnes (130,000,000 long tons; 140,000,000 short tons) of oil—as a result of the financial and economic crisis, which reduced world GDP by 0.6% in 2009.
This evolution is the result of two contrasting trends: Energy consumption growth remained vigorous in several developing countries, specifically in Asia (+4%). Conversely, in OECD, consumption was severely cut by 4.7% in 2009 and was thus almost down to its 2000 levels. In North America, Europe and the CIS, consumptions shrank by 4.5%, 5% and 8.5% respectively due to the slowdown in economic activity. China became the world's largest energy consumer (18% of the total) since its consumption surged by 8% during 2009 (up from 4% in 2008). Oil remained the largest energy source (33%) despite the fact that its share has been decreasing over time. Coal posted a growing role in the world's energy consumption: in 2009, it accounted for 27% of the total.
Most energy is used in the country of origin, since it is cheaper to transport final products than raw materials. In 2008 the share export of the total energy production by fuel was: oil 50% (1,952/3,941 Mt), gas 25% (800/3,149 bcm), hard coal 14% (793/5,845 Mt) and electricity 1% (269/20,181 TWh).
Most of the world's energy resources are from the conversion of the sun's rays to other energy forms after being incident upon the planet. Some of that energy has been preserved as fossil energy, some is directly or indirectly usable; for example, via wind, hydro- or wave power. The amount of energy is measured by satellite to be roughly 1,368 watts (1.835 hp) per square meter, though it fluctuates by about 6.9% during the year due to the Earth's varying distance from the sun. This value is the total rate of solar energy received by the planet; about half, 89 petawatts (1.19×1014 hp), reaches the Earth's surface.
The estimates of remaining non-renewable worldwide energy resources vary, with the remaining fossil fuels totaling an estimated 0.4 YJ (1 YJ = 1024J) and the available nuclear fuel such as uranium exceeding 2.5 YJ. Fossil fuels range from 0.6 to 3 YJ if estimates of reserves of methane clathrates are accurate and become technically extractable. The total energy flux from the sun is 3.8 YJ/yr, dwarfing all non-renewable resources.
|Regional energy use (kWh/capita & TWh) and growth 1990–2008 (%)|
|kWh/capita||Population (million)||Energy use (1,000 TWh)|
|Source: IEA/OECD, Population OECD/World Bank|
Total world energy supply is distinct from actual world energy usage due to energy loss. For example, in 2008, total world energy supply was 143,851 TWh, while end use was 98,022 TWh. Energy loss depends on the energy source itself, as well as the technology used. For example, Nuclear Power (as of 2008) loses 67% of its energy to water cooling systems.
In 2008, world nuclear energy was 8,283 TWh (constituting 5.8% of total world energy), while nuclear energy end-use was 2,731 TWh (2.8%).
Given significant energy supply-to-usage ratios, It is important to note these differences across various energy sources.
Global warming emissions resulting from energy production are an environmental problem. Efforts to resolve this include the Kyoto Protocol, which is a UN agreement aiming to reduce harmful climate impacts, which a number of nations have signed. Dangerous concentration remains a subject of dubious debate. Limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, thought to be a risk by the SEI, is now doubtful.
To limit global temperature to a hypothetical 2 degrees Celsius rise would demand a 75% decline in carbon emissions in industrial countries by 2050, if the population is 10 mrd in 2050. Across 40 years, this averages to a 2% decrease every year. In 2011, the emissions of energy production continued rising regardless of the consensus of the basic problem. Hypothetically, according to Robert Engelman (Worldwatch institute), in order to prevent collapse, human civilization would have to stop increasing emissions within a decade regardless of the economy or population (2009).
|World energy and power supply (TWh)|
|1990||102 569||11 821|
|2000||117 687||15 395|
|2005||133 602||18 258|
|2008||143 851||20 181|
The United States Energy Information Administration regularly publishes a report on world consumption for most types of primary energy resources. According to IEA total world energy supply was 102,569 TWh (1990); 117,687 TWh (2000); 133,602 TWh (2005) and 143,851 TWh (2008). World power generation was 11,821 TWh (1990); 15,395 TWh (2000); 18,258 TWh (2005) and 20,181 TWh (2008). Compared to power supply 20,181 TWh the power end use was only 16,819 TWh in 2008 including EU27: 2 857 TWh, China 2 883 TWh and USA 4 533 TWh. In 2008 energy use per person was in the USA 4.1 fold, EU 1.9 fold and Middle East 1.6 fold the world average and in China 87% and India 30% of the world average.
In 2008 energy supply by power source was oil 33.5%, coal 26.8%, gas 20.8% (fossil 81%), 'other' (hydro, peat, solar, wind, geothermal power, biofuels etc.) 12.9%, and nuclear 5.8%. Oil was the most popular energy fuel. Oil and coal combined represented over 60% of the world energy supply in 2008.
Since the annual energy supply increase has been high, e.g. 2007–2008 4,461 TWh, compared to the total nuclear power end use 2,731 TWh environmental activists, like Greenpeace, support increase of energy efficiency and renewable energy capacity. These are also more and more addressed in the international agreements and national Energy Action Plans, like the EU 2009 Renewable Energy Directive and corresponding national plans. The global renewable energy supply increased from 2000 to 2008 in total 3,155 TWh, also more than the nuclear power use 2,731 TWh in 2008. The energy resources below show the extensive reserves of renewable energy.
|Energy by power source 2008|
|Other RE*||15 284||10.6%|
|Source: IEA *`=solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels|
|Regional energy use (kWh/cap.)|
|USA||89 021||87 216||250||305|
|EU-27||40 240||40 821||473||499|
|Middle East||19 422||34 774||132||199|
|China||8 839||18 608||1 141||1 333|
|Latin America||11 281||14 421||355||462|
|Africa||7 094||7 792||634||984|
|India||4 419||6 280||850||1 140|
|The World||19 421||21 283||5 265||6 688|
|Source: IEA/OECD, Population OECD/World Bank|
|Fuel type||Average power in TW|
solar energy, wood
|Source: The USA Energy Information Administration|
The twentieth century saw a rapid twentyfold increase in the use of fossil fuels. Between 1980 and 2006, the worldwide annual growth rate was 2%. According to the US Energy Information Administration's 2006 estimate, the estimated 471.8 EJ total consumption in 2004 was divided as given in the table above, with fossil fuels supplying 86% of the world's energy:
Coal fueled the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century. With the advent of the automobile, airplanes and the spreading use of electricity, oil became the dominant fuel during the twentieth century. The growth of oil as the largest fossil fuel was further enabled by steadily dropping prices from 1920 until 1973. After the oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, during which the price of oil increased from 5 to 45 US dollars per barrel, there was a shift away from oil. Coal, natural gas, and nuclear became the fuels of choice for electricity generation and conservation measures increased energy efficiency. In the U.S. the average car more than doubled the number of miles per gallon. Japan, which bore the brunt of the oil shocks, made spectacular improvements and now has the highest energy efficiency in the world. From 1965 to 2008, the use of fossil fuels has continued to grow and their share of the energy supply has increased. From 2003 to 2008, coal was the fastest growing fossil fuel.
If production and consumption of coal continue at the rate as in 2008, proven and economically recoverable world reserves of coal would last for about 150 years. This is much more than needed for an irreversible climate catastrophe. Coal is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. According to IEA Coal Information (2007) world production and use of coal have increased considerably in recent years. According to James Hansen the single most important action needed to tackle the climate crisis is to reduce CO2 emissions from coal.
|Regional coal supply (TWh), share 2010 (%) and share of change 2000–2010|
|Asia excl. China||5,013||7,485||7,370||7,806||19%||18.9%|
|Source: IEA, *in 2009, 2010 BP*|
Change 2000–2009: Region's share of the world change +12,733 TWh from 2000 to 2009
In 2000, China consumed 28% of world coal consumption, other Asia consumed 19%, North America 25% and the EU 14%. The single greatest coal-consuming country is China. Its share of the world coal production was 28% in 2000 and rose to 48% in 2009. In contrast to China's ~70% increase in coal consumption, world coal use increased 48% from 2000 to 2009. In practice, the majority of this growth occurred in China and the rest in other Asia.
World annual coal production increased 1,905 Mt or 32% in 6 years in 2011 compared to 2005, of which over 70% was in China and 8% on India. Coal production was in 2011 7,783 Mt, and 2009 6,903 Mt, equal to 12.7% production increase in two years.
|Top 10 coal exporters (Mt)|
|Regional gas supply (TWh) and share 2010 (%)|
|Asia excl. China||2,744||4,074||4,348||4,799||14%|
|Source: IEA, in 2009, 2010 BP|
In 2009 the world use of gas was 131% compared to year 2000. 66% of the this growth was outside EU, North America Latin America and Russia. Others include Middle East, Asia and Africa. The gas supply increased also in the previous regions: 8.6% in the EU and 16% in the North America 2000–2009.
As of 7 March 2013, the world had 434 operable reactors with 66 others currently under construction. Since commercial nuclear energy began in the mid 1950s, 2008 was the first year that no new nuclear power plant was connected to the grid, although two were connected in 2009.
Annual generation of nuclear power has been on a slight downward trend since 2007, decreasing 1.8% in 2009 to 2558 TWh, and another 1.6% in 2011 to 2518 TWh despite in increases in production from most countries worldwide while Germany and Japan showed significant drops in output. Nuclear power meets 13–14% of the world's electricity demand.
Renewable energy comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). As of 2010, about 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from hydroelectricity. New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) accounted for another 2.8% and are growing very rapidly. The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 19%, with 16% of global electricity coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the kinetic energy of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy, accounting for 16% of global electricity consumption, and 12,340 PJ (3,427 TWh) of electricity production in 2010, which continues the rapid rate of increase experienced between 2003 and 2009.
Hydropower is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generating 32 percent of global hydropower in 2010. China is the largest hydroelectricity producer, with 2,600 PJ (721 TWh) of production in 2010, representing around 17% of domestic electricity use. There are now three hydroelectricity plants larger than 10 GW: the Three Gorges Dam in China, Itaipu Dam in Brazil, and Guri Dam in Venezuela.
Wind power is growing at the rate of 30% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 238,351 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2011, and is widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 21% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 18% in Portugal, 16% in Spain, 14% in Ireland and 9% in Germany in 2010. As of 2011, 83 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar energy technologies include solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity and solar architecture, which can make considerable contributions to solving some of the most urgent problems the world now faces. The International Energy Agency projected that solar power could provide "a third of the global final energy demand after 2060, while CO2 emissions would be reduced to very low levels."
Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
Geothermal energy is used commercially in over 70 countries. In 2004, 200 petajoules (56 TWh) of electricity was generated from geothermal resources, and an additional 270 petajoules (75 TWh) of geothermal energy was used directly, mostly for space heating. In 2007, the world had a global capacity for 10 GW of electricity generation and an additional 28 GW of direct heating, including extraction by geothermal heat pumps. Heat pumps are small and widely distributed, so estimates of their total capacity are uncertain and range up to 100 GW.
Until the beginning of the nineteenth century biomass was the predominant fuel, today it has only a small share of the overall energy supply. Electricity produced from biomass sources was estimated at 44 GW for 2005. Biomass electricity generation increased by over 100% in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain. A further 220 GW was used for heating (in 2004), bringing the total energy consumed from biomass to around 264 GW. The use of biomass fires for cooking is excluded.
World production of bioethanol increased by 8% in 2005 to reach 33 gigalitres (8.7×109 US gal), with most of the increase in the United States, bringing it level to the levels of consumption in Brazil. Biodiesel increased by 85% to 3.9 gigalitres (1.0×109 US gal), making it the fastest growing renewable energy source in 2005. Over 50% is produced in Germany.
Energy consumption is loosely correlated with gross national product and climate, but there is a large difference even between the most highly developed countries, such as Japan and Germany with an energy consumption rate of 6 kW per person and the United States with an energy consumption rate of 11.4 kW per person. In developing countries, particularly those that are sub-tropical or tropical such as India, the per person energy use rate is closer to 0.7 kW. Bangladesh has the lowest consumption rate with 0.2 kW per person.
The US consumes 25% of the world's energy with a share of global GDP at 22% and a share of the world population at 4.59%. The most significant growth of energy consumption is currently taking place in China, which has been growing at 5.5% per year over the last 25 years. Its population of 1.3 billion people (19.6% of the world population) is consuming energy at a rate of 1.6 kW per person.
One measurement of efficiency is energy intensity. This is a measure of the amount of energy it takes a country to produce a dollar of gross domestic product.
Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States accounted for 34% of oil production in 2011. Saudi Arabia, Russia and Nigeria accounted for 36% of oil export in 2011.
|World energy use per sector|
|Residential and service||30,555||35,319||37.3||36.0|
|Source: IEA 2010, Total is calculated from the given sectors|
Numbers are the end use of energy
Total world energy supply (2008) 143,851 TWh
Industrial users (agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction) consume about 37% of the total 54 PJ (15 TWh). Personal and commercial transportation consumes 20%; residential heating, lighting, and appliances use 11%; and commercial uses (lighting, heating and cooling of commercial buildings, and provision of water and sewer services) amount to 5% of the total.
The other 27% of the world's energy is lost in energy transmission and generation. In 2005, global electricity consumption averaged 7.2 PJ (2 TWh). The energy rate used to generate 7.2 PJ (2 TWh) of electricity is approximately 18 PJ (5 TWh), as the efficiency of a typical existing power plant is around 38%. The new generation of gas-fired plants reaches a substantially higher efficiency of 55%. Coal is the most common fuel for the world's electricity plants.
Total world energy use per sector was in 2008 industry 28%, transport 27% and residential and service 36%. Division was about the same in the year 2000.
The European Environmental Agency (EEA) measures final energy consumption (does not include energy used in production and lost in transportation) and finds that the transport sector is responsible for 31.5% of final energy consumption, industry 27.6%, households 25.9%, services 11.4% and agriculture 3.7%. The use of energy is responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions (79%), with the energy sector representing 31%, transport 19%, industry 13%, households 9% and others 7%.
While efficient energy and resource efficiency are growing as public policy issues, more than 70% of coal plants in the European Union are more than 20 years old and operate at an efficiency level of between 32–40%. Technological developments in the 1990s have allowed efficiencies in the range of 40–45% at newer plants. However, according to an impact assessment by the European Commission, this is still below the best available technological (BAT) efficiency levels of 46–49%. With gas-fired power plants the average efficiency is 52% compared to 58–59% with best available technology (BAT), and gas and oil boiler plants operate at average 36% efficiency (BAT delivers 47%). According to that same impact assessment by the European Commission, raising the efficiency of all new plants and the majority of existing plants, through the setting of authorisation and permit conditions, to an average generation efficiency of 51.5% in 2020 would lead to a reduction in annual consumption of 15 km3 (3.6 cu mi) of natural gas and 25 Mt (25,000,000 long tons; 28,000,000 short tons) of coal.