1. Home
  2. Energy economics
  3. Statistical Review of World Energy
  4. Primary energy

Primary energy

Primary energy consumption growth slowed to 1.3% last year, less than half the rate of growth in 2018 (2.8%)
Eleanor Tinsley Park and Houston skyline at night, Texas, USA --- Image by © RebeccaAng/RooM the Agency/Corbis
Primary energy - world consumption (exajoules)
Primary energy - world consumption (exajoules)

Primary energy consumption rose by 1.3% last year, below its 10-year average rate of 1.6% per year, and much weaker than the 2.8% growth seen in 2018. By region, consumption fell in North America, Europe and CIS and was below average in South & Central America. Demand growth in Africa, Middle East and Asia was roughly in line with historical averages.

 

China was by far the biggest individual driver of primary energy growth, accounting for more than three quarters of net global growth. India and Indonesia were the next largest contributors, while the US and Germany posted the largest declines in energy terms.

 

Looking at energy by fuel, 2019 growth was driven by renewables, followed by natural gas, which together contributed over three quarters of the net increase. The share of both renewables and natural gas in primary energy increased to record highs. Meanwhile, coal consumption declined, with its share in the energy mix falling to its lowest level since 2003.

 

The combination of slower growth in energy demand and a shift in the fuel mix away from coal and toward natural gas and renewables led to a significant slowdown in the growth of carbon emissions. Emissions rose by 0.5%, although slower than their 10-year average, it only partially unwound the unusually strong growth of 2.1% seen in 2018.

Primary energy – regional consumption pattern 2019 (percentage)
Primary energy – regional consumption pattern 2019 (percentage)
Oil remains the dominant fuel in Africa, Europe and the Americas, while natural gas dominates in CIS and the Middle East, accounting for more than half of the energy mix in both regions. Coal is the dominant fuel in the Asia Pacific region. In 2019 coal’s share of primary energy fell to its lowest level in our data series in North America and Europe.
Shares of global primary energy consumption by fuel (percentage)
Shares of global primary energy consumption by fuel (percentage)
Oil continues to hold the largest share of the energy mix (33.1%). Coal is the second largest fuel but lost share in 2019 to account for 27.0%, its lowest level since 2003. The share of both natural gas and renewables rose to record highs of 24.2% and 5.0% respectively. Renewables has now overtaken nuclear which makes up only 4.3% of the energy mix. The share of hydroelectricity has been stable at around 6% for several years.
Energy per capita by region (GJ/head)
Energy per capita by region (GJ/head)
Average global energy consumption per capita increased by only 0.2% in 2019 to 75.7 GJ/head, driven by growth in the Middle East (1.4%) and Asia Pacific (2.4%). Energy demand per head fell in all other regions. North America is the region with the highest consumption per capita (236 GJ/head), followed by CIS (158 GJ/head) and the Middle East (151 GJ/head). Africa remains the region with the lowest average consumption (15 GJ/head).
Energy per capita: distribution across countries (cumulative share of world population, %)
Energy per capita: distribution across countries (cumulative share of world population, %)
In 2019 81% of the global population lived in countries where average energy demand per capita was less than 100 GJ/head, two percentage points more than 20 years ago. However, the share of the global population consuming less than 75 GJ/head declined from 76% in 1999 to 57% last year. Average energy demand per capita in China increased from 17 GJ/head in 1979 to 99 GJ/head in 2019.