Global Primary Energy - Statistics & Facts

As the global population grows and the world becomes more developed, the demand for energy is increasing as well. In 2016, the consumption of primary energy amounted to the equivalent of about 13.28 billion metric tons of oil, compared to about 11.27 billion tons in 2006. Primary energy is comprised of commercially traded fuels, including modern renewable energy sources used to generate electricity. The largest share of primary energy consumption worldwide is attributed to oil, followed by coal and natural gas. Nuclear energy has fallen out of favor over the last decade, while hydropower has become increasingly popular.

As the most populous country in the world with one of the fastest growing economies, it should come as no surprise that China consumes the most primary energy of any country in the world, followed by the United States. Although most of China’s energy is produced by burning coal, in recent years the industrial giant has begun to rely more on hydroelectricity, nuclear energy, and renewables.

Humanity is approaching a critical time in our history when we are faced with the decision to either continue burning fossil fuels and contributing to climate change or to switch to clean energy, and hence the role of renewable energy sources has become more and more important. The amount of renewable energy as a share of total primary energy consumption reached an all time high of 13.4 percent in 2016. China and Russia had the highest energy potential from hydropower as of 2015, amounting to 2,140 and 1,670 terawatt hours per year respectively, which will hopefully give these countries a strong incentive to invest in hydroelectric plants.

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