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Electricity generation rose by an above-average 3.7%, which is one of the strongest growth rates seen for 20 years, buoyed by China (which accounted for more than half of the growth), India and the US
High-tension power pylons
Renewables accounted for a third of the net increase in power generation, followed closely by coal (31%) and then natural gas (25%). 
Share of global electricity generation by fuel (percentage)
Share of global electricity generation by fuel (percentage)

At a global level, coal still accounted for the largest share of power generation at 38%, the same share as 20 years ago.


Gas is the second most used fuel with a share of 23.2%, significantly higher than in 1998. The share of oil and nuclear has declined substantially over the same period.


The share of renewables increased from 8.4% to 9.3%, up from only 1.3% 20 years ago. Regionally, there is significant variation in the penetration of renewables: Europe has the highest penetration, at 18.7%, followed by South & Central America.

Regional electricity generation by fuel 2018 (percentage)
Regional electricity generation by fuel 2017 (percentage)

Natural gas is the dominant fuel for power generation in North America followed by coal. In South & Central America, hydroelectricity accounts for more than half of power generation.


In Europe nuclear, coal, renewables and gas all have a prominent role. In CIS and the Middle East, natural gas is by far the most important fuel for power generation.

In Africa, natural gas and coal account for almost 70% of the electricity generated.


Coal remains the most important fuel in Asia Pacific.