China’s coal production declined by 7.9% - the largest annual fall since our data began in 1981

Fast facts

  1. China accounted for 23% of global energy consumption and 27% of global energy consumption growth in 2016.
  2. The share of coal in China’s primary energy mix declined to 62% in 2016 from 64% in 2015.
  3. China’s CO2 emissions from energy use declined by 0.7% in 2016, the second consecutive year of decline.

+1.3% Growth in China’s energy consumption

-1.6% Decline in China’s coal consumption

+71.5% Growth in China’s solar power consumption

  • China’s energy consumption grew by 1.3% in 2016. This was less than a quarter of the 10-year average growth rate of 5.3%.
  • China remained the world’s largest energy consumer, accounting for 23% of global energy consumption and contributing 27% to global energy demand growth in 2016.
  • Among the fossil fuels, consumption growth was led by natural gas (+7.7%) and oil (+2.7%), while coal use declined (1.6%). All fossil fuels grew at rates below their 10-year averages.
  • China’s energy mix continued to evolve. Coal remained the dominant fuel, accounting for 62% of China’s energy consumption. However, this was the lowest share on record and down from recent highs of 74% in the mid-2000s.
  • China overtook the US to become the largest consumer of renewables in power in 2016. Renewables consumption grew by 33.4% in 2016. Chinese renewables accounted for 20.5% of the global total, up from just 2% 10 years ago.
  • Both coal (7.9%) and oil (7.2%) production declined in 2016, while natural gas production increased by 1.4%. 
  • Oil production declined by 310 Kb/d to 4 Mb/d in 2016, the largest annual decline ever.
  • China’s oil import dependency ratio rose to 68% in 2016, the highest in its history.
  • Natural gas production increased by just 2.3 Bcm in 2016 to 138.4 Bcm, the smallest increase since 2000.
  • Among non-fossil fuels, solar consumption grew the fastest (71.5%), followed by wind (+29.4%) and nuclear (+24.5%). Hydro grew by 4.0% in 2016, the slowest pace since 2011.
  • China accounted for all of the net growth in global nuclear power generation. China’s growth increment (+9.6 mtoe) was the largest of any country since 2004.
  • China’s CO2 emissions from energy use declined by 0.7% in 2016, significantly below the 10-year average growth of 4.2%.

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