15+ Eye-opening World Energy Consumption Statistics To Be Aware Of

Updated · May 20, 2023

The produced and consumed quantity of energy has enormously changed in the past couple of centuries. We have found ways to use new sources and technologies, increasing the total world energy consumption.

Since the latter is an essential metric for our life on Earth, we have collected a list of statistics that aim to make us more conscious about how we look at and consume energy.

Let’s see what they have to say!

Important World Energy Consumption Facts (Editor’s Choice):

  • Global energy consumption is growing by around 2% each year.
  • The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts a nearly 50% increase in world energy usage by 2050, with Asia being the main growth driver.
  • China used 24% of the total global energy in 2020.
  • Due to lockdowns worldwide and transport restrictions, energy consumption fell by 4% in 2020.
  • Consequently, the average energy consumption per capita decreased globally by 5.5% in the same year.
  • Fossil fuels provide over 80% of the energy consumption of the world.
  • It is expected that worldwide renewable energy consumption will increase by 3.1% per year between 2018 and 2050.

World Energy Usage

Energy consumption is the amount of energy (or power) required to perform an action.

It is tightly connected with economic growth and the environment. Energy, in general, plays an important role “both as a scale of economic and social development and as a basic humanitarian need.”

So let’s learn more about it and dive into the key world energy statistics!

1. Global energy usage seems to grow slower.

(Source: Our World In Data)

While it is true that the world uses more energy each year, the growing tempo in the last few has sadly been slower. The percentage rate of growth is between one and two. The total global energy consumption decreased in the 1980s, 2009, and 2020, only when the world faced financial crises and a pandemic.

2. The world energy consumption was 418 EJ (Exajoule) in 2019.

(Source: International Energy Agency)

For comparison, the worldwide energy consumption was 194 EJ 46 years earlier, in 1973. However, the primary energy source used globally (oil) remains the same. Next on the 2019 list are natural gas, electricity, biofuels and waste, and coal.

3. The world used 23,845 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2019.

(Source: Statista)

The consumption of electricity has more than tripled between 1980 and 2019 due to the significant increase in the population and further industrialization and electrification. The last rapid growth was between 2005 and 2010.

4. The demand for energy in the world was set to increase by 4.6% in 2021.

(Source: International Energy Agency)

After human energy consumption dropped because of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts predicted it going beyond its 2019 levels in 2021. According to this energy consumption data, 70% of the increase was expected to occur in emerging markets and developing economies.

With life going back to normal (more or less), what do you think—will the world energy consumption be much greater in 2022?

Energy Consumption By Country

The statistics mentioned above showed us how global energy consumption increases yearly.

However, the quantity of energy used differs by country. Now we’re on to explore this exactly—the energy usage by country.

5. China is the world’s largest energy consumer.

(Source: Statista)

In 2020, China consumed 145.46 EJ of energy—almost twice more than the US (87.79 EJ). The other three countries comprising the top five are India (31.98 EJ), Russia (28.31 EJ), and Japan (17.03 EJ).

6. China is the largest consumer of electricity.

(Source: Statista)

Even when talking about electricity consumption by country, China is still the leader. It used 6,875.1 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2020. In fact, the top five list remains the same with the US, India, Russia, and Japan.

7. Iceland had the highest electricity consumption per capita in 2019.

(Source: Statista)

The overall consumption is defined mainly by the size of the country’s population. On the other hand, consumption per capita is highly influenced by the citizens’ income and the cost of electricity production.

The average amount of electricity consumed per person in Iceland was 56.8 kilowatt-hours. Second on the list was Norway, with 30 kilowatt-hours less than the leading country. Qatar, Canada, and the US were third, fourth, and fifth on the chart, respectively.

Global Energy Consumption By Source

Renewable sources become more and more popular with each passing year, but most people still use traditional energy sources.

As we’ve already discussed, oil was the primary energy source in 2019.

8. In 2017, China had the highest consumption of fossil fuels per capita.

(Source: Resource Watch)

China is responsible for 31% of the global fossil fuels consumption, with 4.7 billion metric tons used per year. This makes about 3.4 tons per person yearly. The US, India, Russia, and Japan are once again following China.

9. Bitcoin energy usage makes up less than 10% of the traditional banking system's energy.

(Source: Tech Crunch)

Crypto mining has been a very controversial topic ever since it was first introduced. Critics blame crypto mining for too high energy usage. But is that so in reality? And if yes, what’s the reason behind it?

The University of Cambridge concluded that Bitcoin miners will probably consume around 130 terawatt-hours of energy. This is about 0.6% of the world's energy consumption. Furthermore, a 2019 study found that up to 73% of Bitcoin miners use renewable energy to some extent.

Crypto mining, in general, requires a certain amount of energy because “mining is done using powerful computers capable of generating thousands, millions, and even billions of hashes per second; it requires large amounts of electricity.

10. The average NFT energy usage is 340 kilowatt-hours.

(Source: Poster Grind)

This includes the minting (creation of the NFT), bids, canceling bids, the sale, and the ownership transfer. Most NFTs are based on the Ethereum platform. Each transaction there uses about 48.41 kilowatt-hours of energy.

However, minting NFTs with different prices (an NFT worth $10 million or an NFT worth $100) will require the same energy because they aren’t validated differently.

Global Energy Production

For the energy to be consumed, it should first be produced.

In the following section, we will take a look at energy production around the world.

11. The world's energy production was 617 EJ in 2019.

(Source: International Energy Agency)

This marked a 2% increase from 2018, mostly from natural gas and coal. Some renewable sources also saw a production increase, e.g., solar and wind energy.

12. China is the country producing the most energy in the world.

(Source: US Energy Information Administration)

Is that really a surprise? China produced 123.591 quadrillion BTU (British thermal units) in 2019. The next four big energy producers are the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. However, the US is first in producing natural gas, petroleum, and other liquids.

13. In 2019, 84.3% of the global energy production by source came from fossil fuels.

(Source: Our World In Data)

Unfortunately, low-carbon sources accounted for only 15.7% of the total energy produced in 2019. It takes more time for renewable sources to be integrated into our lives. This gives us hope that we are going in the right direction and will be using more eco-friendly energy in the future.

14. Coal was the main source used for electricity in 2019.

(Source: Our World In Data)

However, when it comes to electricity, more than one-third of the sources used are low-carbon. Nevertheless, coal and gas remain the sources with the highest consumption percentages at 36.7% and 23.5%, respectively. Third on the list comes hydropower with 15.8%.

What will the world electricity generation by source chart look like for 2022? Will hydropower usage increase? We’re looking forward to seeing it!

15. Some countries get more than 90% of their electricity from nuclear or renewable sources.

(Source: Our World In Data)

Sweden, Norway, and France got nearly 100% of their electricity from low-carbon sources in 2021. Other countries in this list are Paraguay, Iceland, Nepal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, etc.

16. Fossil fuels will probably remain the most used energy source by 2030.

(Source: Brookings India)

According to researchers, 78% of global energy will still be sourced from fossil fuels in 2030. Even though renewable sources will be used more and more, oil, coal, and natural gas will remain dominant in industry, power, and transportation.

17. The World Economic Forum predicted the establishment of a global carbon price by 2030.

(Source: World Economic Forum)

China introduced a national emissions trading scheme, which led to a 50% reduction of the country’s emissions in 2020. It is expected that the Chinese, European, Latin-American, and Canadian-Californian schemes will link. This pact will make the global carbon price possible.

The global carbon price will be a fixed price, applicable for every country in the world, “for the right to emit a tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere.” This way, governments will have a “simple and powerful incentive” to start using more renewable energy sources.

Wrap Up

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the world has relied on large quantities of energy to function daily.

Global economies and private households use electricity, liquid oils, and renewable sources as part of their day-to-day tasks. We will find it hard to survive without the comfort of the modern world that energy provides.

However, world energy consumption has become a matter often discussed by political organizations.

They hope to implement more eco-friendly sources to keep living the way we do—just in harmony with Mother Nature.

Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.