Worldwide energy supply
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Worldwide energy supply is the global production and preparation of fuel, generation of electricity, and energy transport. Energy supply is a vast industry.
Many countries publish statistics on the energy supply of their own country or other countries or the world. World Energy Balances is published by one of the largest organizations in this field, the International Energy Agency IEA. This collection of energy balances is very large. This article provides a brief description of energy supply, using statistics summarized in tables, of the countries and regions that produce and consume most.
Energy production is 80% fossil. Half of that is produced by China, the United States and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The Gulf States and Norway export most of their production, largely to the European Union and Japan where not enough energy is produced to satisfy demand. Energy production increases slowly, except for solar and wind energy which grows more than 20% per year.
Produced energy, for instance crude oil, is processed to make it suitable for consumption by end users. The supply chain between production and final consumption involves many conversion activities and much trade and transport among countries, causing a loss of one third of energy before it is consumed.
Energy consumption per person in North America is very high while in developing countries it is low and more renewable.
Worldwide carbon dioxide emission from fossil fuel was 37 gigaton in 2017. In view of contemporary energy policy of countries the IEA expects that the worldwide energy consumption in 2040 will have increased more than a quarter and that the goal, set in the Paris Agreement about Climate Change, will not nearly be reached. Several scenarios to achieve the goal are developed.
Primary energy production
This is the worldwide production of energy, extracted or captured directly from natural sources. In energy statistics Primary Energy (PE) refers to the first stage where energy enters the supply chain before any further conversion or transformation process.
Energy production is usually classified as
- fossil, using coal, crude oil and natural gas,
- nuclear, using uranium,
- renewable, using hydro power, biomass, wind and solar energy, among others.
Primary energy assessment follows certain rules[note 1] to ease measurement and comparison of different kinds of energy. Due to these rules uranium is not counted as PE but as the natural source of nuclear PE. Similarly water and air flow energy that drives hydro and wind turbines, and sunlight that powers solar panels, are not taken as PE but as PE sources.
|Location||Total||Coal||Oil & Gas||Nuclear||Renewable|
The top producers of the USA are Texas 20%, Wyoming 9%, Pennsylvania 9%, W Virginia 5% and Oklahoma 5%.
In the Mid-East the Persian Gulf states Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates produce most. A small part comes from Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
The top producers in Africa are Nigeria (249), S-Africa (158), Algeria (153) and Angola (92).
In Europe Norway (206, oil and gas), France (130, mainly nuclear), Germany (115), UK (120), Poland (64, mainly coal) and Netherlands (42, mainly natural gas) produce most.
Of the world renewable supply 68% is biofuel and waste, mostly in developing countries, 18% is generated with hydro power and 14% with other renewables.
For more detailed energy production see
- List of countries by electricity production
- List of countries by electricity production from renewable sources
- Nuclear power by country
From 2015 to 2017 worldwide production increased 2%, mainly in Russia (7%), the Mid-East (8%) and India (5%), while China produced 3% less and the EU 2% less. From 2017 to 2019 world energy increased 5%, mainly in the USA (15%) and China (9%). From 2015 to 2018 wind energy increased 52% and solar energy 123%.
Energy conversion and trade
Primary energy is converted in many ways to energy carriers, also known as secondary energy.
- Coal mainly goes to thermal power stations. Coke is derived by destructive distillation of bituminous coal.
- Crude oil goes mainly to oil refineries
- Natural-gas goes to natural-gas processing plants to remove contaminants such as water, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, and to adjust the heating value. It is used as fuel gas, also in thermal power stations.
- Nuclear reaction heat is used in thermal power stations.
- Biomass is used directly or converted to biofuel.
Electricity generators are driven by
- steam or gas turbines in a thermal plant,
- or water turbines in a hydropower station,
- or wind turbines, usually in a wind farm.
Much primary and converted energy is traded among countries, about 5350 Mtoe/a worldwide, mostly oil and gas. The table lists countries/regions with large difference of export and import. A negative value indicates that much energy import is needed for the economy. The quantities are expressed in Mtoe/a and the data are of 2017.
Total Primary Energy Supply
Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) indicates the sum of production and imports subtracting exports and storage changes. For the whole world TPES nearly equals primary energy PE but for countries TPES and PE differ in quantity and quality. Usually secondary energy is involved, e.g., import of an oil refinery product, so TPES is often not PE. P in TPES has not the same meaning as in PE. It refers to energy needed as input to produce some or all energy for end-users.
The table lists the worldwide TPES and the countries/regions using most (83%) of that in 2017, and TPES per person.
31% of worldwide primary production is used for conversion and transport, and 6% for non-energy products like lubricants, asphalt and petrochemicals. 63% remains for end-users. Most of the energy lost by conversion occurs in thermal electricity plants and the energy industry own use.
Total final consumption (TFC) is the worldwide consumption of energy by end-users. This energy consists of fuel (79%) and electricity (21%). The tables list amounts, expressed in million tonnes of oil equivalent per year (1 Mtoe = 11.63 TWh) and how much of these is renewable energy. Non-energy products are not considered here. The data are of 2017.
- fossil: natural gas, fuel derived from petroleum (LPG, gasoline, kerosene, gas/diesel, fuel oil), from coal (anthracite, bituminous coal, coke, blast furnace gas).
- renewable: biofuel and fuel derived from waste.
- for District heating.
The amounts are based on lower heating value.
In developing countries fuel consumption per person is low and more renewable. Canada, Venezuela and Brazil generate most electricity with hydropower.
In Africa 32 of the 48 nations are declared to be in an energy crisis by the World Bank. See Energy in Africa.
In the period 2005-2017 worldwide final consumption of
- coal increased 23%,
- oil and gas increased 18%,
- electricity increased 41%.
Energy for energy
Some fuel and electricity is used to construct, maintain and demolish/recycle installations that produce fuel and electricity, such as oil platforms, uranium isotope separators and wind turbines. For these producers to be economic the ratio of energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) or energy return on investment (EROI) should be large enough. There is little consensus in the technical literature about methods and results in calculating these ratios.
Paul Brockway et al. find that such ratios, measured at the primary energy stage at the well, should instead be estimated at the final stage where energy is delivered at end users, including energy needed for conversion and transport. They calculate global EROI time series in the years 1995–2011 for fossil fuels at both primary and final energy stages and concur with common primary-stage estimates ~30, but find very low ratios at the final stage: around 6 and declining. They conclude that low and declining EROI values may lead to constraints on the energy available to society. And that renewables-based EROI may be higher than fossil fuels EROI when measured at the same final energy stage.
If at the final stage the energy delivered is E and the EROI equals R, then the net energy available to society is E-E/R. The percentage available energy is 100-100/R. For R>10 more than 90% is available but for R=2 only 50% and for R=1 none. This steep decline is known as the net energy cliff.
Marco Raugei with 20 coauthors find EROI 9-10 for PV systems in Switzerland as the ratio of the total electrical output to the ‘equivalent electrical energy’ investment. They criticize inclusion of energy storage in the calculation of EROI for PV panels or windturbines, as it would make the result incompatible with conventional EROI calculations for other electricity generating installations. Measuring the performance of energy technologies ought to be done in a comprehensive analysis of a country's energy system.
The IEA presents four scenarios in its World Energy Outlook 2020 report.
In the Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS) and the Delayed Recovery Scenario (DRS) the IEA assesses the likely effects of 2020 policy settings. Global energy demand rebounds to pre-COVID pandemic level around 2024 (p.27,28). Energy-related CO2 emissions will, after a 7% fall in 2020, rebound around 2022 and rise to about 35 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2030 (Figure 1.3), far from the immediate peak and decline in emissions that is needed to meet the Paris Agreement (p.87). Air pollution causes nearly 6 million premature deaths in 2030, about 10% more than today (p.32).
The Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) assesses what is needed to meet the Paris Agreement. Investment in clean energy and electricity networks rises from $0.9 trillion in 2019 to $2.7 trillion in 2030 (p.88). Then the share of solar PV and wind in global generation rises to 30% (p.34). Together with other low-carbon sources (mainly hydro and nuclear) they generate almost two-thirds of all electricity (p.54). The share of coal drops to 15% (p.19). Methane emissions are reduced by 75% from 2019 levels (p.106). Fossil share in the primary energy mix falls but remains large, around 70% in 2030 (p.104).
Still the SDS holds that net-zero CO2 emissions globally can be reached by 2070. SDS would provide a 50% probability of limiting the temperature rise to less than 1.65 °C (p.54) but no details are given how.
In the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE2050) Scenario (Chapter 4) CO2 emissions from the power sector decline by around 60% between 2019 and 2030. Worldwide annual solar PV additions expand from 110 GW in 2019 to nearly 500 GW in 2030. NZE2050 would require an unprecedented mobilisation of resources worldwide. That is clearly not happening.
Many scenario's are possible. The actions taken by governments will be decisive in determining which path to follow. As of 2019, there is still a chance of keeping global warming below 1.5°C if no more fossil fuel power plants are built and some existing fossil fuel power plants are shut down early, together with other measures such as reforestation.
Alternative Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals scenarios are developed by a team of 20 scientists at the University of Technology of Sydney, the German Aerospace Center, and the University of Melbourne, using IEA data but proposing transition to nearly 100% renewables by mid-century, along with steps such as reforestation. Nuclear power and carbon capture are excluded in these scenarios. The researchers say the costs will be far less than the $5 trillion per year governments currently spend subsidizing the fossil fuel industries responsible for climate change (page ix).
In the +2.0 C (global warming) Scenario total primary energy demand in 2040 can be 450 EJ = 10755 Mtoe, or 400 EJ = 9560 Mtoe in the +1.5 Scenario, well below the current production. Renewable sources can increase their share to 300 EJ in the +2.0 C Scenario or 330 PJ in the +1.5 Scenario in 2040. In 2050 renewables can cover nearly all energy demand. Non-energy consumption will still include fossil fuels. See Fig.5 on p.xxvii.
Global electricity generation from renewable energy sources will reach 88% by 2040 and 100% by 2050 in the alternative scenarios. “New” renewables — mainly wind, solar and geothermal energy — will contribute 83% of the total electricity generated (p.xxiv). The average annual investment required between 2015 and 2050, including costs for additional power plants to produce hydrogen and synthetic fuels and for plant replacement, will be around $1.4 trillion (p.182).
Shifts from domestic aviation to rail and from road to rail are needed. Passenger car use must decrease in the OECD countries (but increase in developing world regions) after 2020. The passenger car use decline will be partly compensated by strong increase in public transport rail and bus systems. See Fig.4 on p.xxii.
CO2 emission can reduce from 32 Gt in 2015 to 7 Gt (+2.0 Scenario) or 2.7 Gt (+1.5 Scenario) in 2040, and to zero in 2050 (p.xxviii).
- Energy demand management
- Energy industry
- Global warming
- World energy consumption
- For history see articles on the control of fire, extraction of coal and oil, use of wind- and watermills and sailing ships.
Primary energy assessment:
- Fossil: based on lower heating value.
- Nuclear: heat produced by nuclear reactions, 3 times the electric energy, based on 33% efficiency of nuclear plants.
- The International Energy Agency uses the energy unit Mtoe. Corresponding data are presented by the US Energy Information Administration expressed in quads. 1 quad = 1015 BTU = 25.2 Mtoe. The US EIA follows different rules to assess renewable electricity generation. See EIA Glossary, Primary energy production.
- "World Energy Balances".
- "United States - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)". www.eia.gov. Retrieved 10 Sep 2019.
- "Renewables Information 2019: Overview".
- https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jul/Renewable-energy-statistics-2020 p.27,41
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol.18, Energy Conversion, 15th ed., 1992
- IEA KeyWorld2017, see Glossary
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