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Primary energy

What happened to the energy system in 2021 and why does it matter?

Primary energy in 2021 grew by its largest amount in history, with emerging economies accounting for most of the increase

Primary energy grew by 31 EJ in 2021, the largest increase in history and more than reversing the sharp decline seen in 2020. Primary energy in 2021 was 8 EJ above 2019 levels.The increase in primary energy in 2021 was driven by emerging economies, which increased by 13 EJ, with China expanding by 10 EJ.

Taking 2020 and 2021 together, primary energy consumption in emerging economies increased by 15 EJ, largely reflecting growth in China (13 EJ). In contrast, energy demand in developed economies in 2021 was 7 EJ below 2019 levels.

The increase in primary energy between 2019 and 2021 was entirely driven by renewable energy sources.  The level of fossil fuel energy consumption was unchanged between 2019 and 2021, with lower oil demand (-8 EJ) offset by higher natural gas (5 EJ) and coal (3 EJ) consumption.