World electricity demand increased by 3.1%, China and India accounted for 70% of growth
The International Energy Agency’s first Global Energy and CO2 Status Report – released in March 2018 – provides a snapshot of recent global trends and developments across fuels, renewable sources, and energy efficiency and carbon emissions, in 2017.
Global energy demand grew by 2.1% in 2017, according to IEA preliminary estimates, more than twice the growth rate in 2016. Global energy demand in 2017 reached an estimated 14,050 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), compared with 10,035 Mtoe in 2000.
Fossil fuels met over 70% of the growth in energy demand around the world. Natural gas demand increased the most, reaching a record share of 22% in total energy demand. Renewables also grew strongly, making up around a quarter of global energy demand growth, while nuclear use accounted for the remainder of the growth.
The overall share of fossil fuels in global energy demand in 2017 remained at 81%, a level that has remained stable for more than three decades despite strong growth in renewables.
Improvements in global energy efficiency slowed down. The rate of decline in global energy intensity, defined as the energy consumed per unit of economic output, slowed to only 1.7% in 2017, much lower than the 2.0% improvement seen in 2016.
The growth in global energy demand was concentrated in Asia, with China and India together representing more than 40% of the increase. Energy demand in all advanced economies contributed more than 20% of global energy demand growth, although their share in total energy use continued to fall.
Notable growth was also registered in Southeast Asia (which accounted for 8% of global energy demand growth) and Africa (6%), although per capita energy use in these regions still remains well below the global average.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 1.4% in 2017, reaching a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes (Gt), a resumption of growth after three years of global emissions remaining flat. The increase in CO2 emissions, however, was not universal.
While most major economies saw a rise, some others experienced declines, including the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan.
The biggest decline came from the United States, mainly because of higher deployment of renewables.
World oil demand rose by 1.6% (or 1.5 million barrels a day) in 2017, a rate that was more than twice the annual average seen over the last decade. An increasing share of sport utility vehicles and light trucks in major economies and demand from the petrochemicals sector bolstered this growth.
Global natural gas demand grew by 3%, thanks in large part to abundant and relatively low-cost supplies. China alone accounted for almost 30% of global growth. In the past decade, half of global gas demand growth came from the power sector; last year, however, over 80% of the rise came from industry and buildings.
Global coal demand rose about 1% in 2017, reversing the declining trend seen over the last two years.
This growth was mainly due to demand in Asia, almost entirely driven by an increase in coal-fired electricity generation.
Renewables saw the highest growth rate of any energy source in 2017, meeting a quarter of global energy demand growth.
China and the United States led this unprecedented growth, contributing around 50% of the increase in renewables-based electricity generation, followed by the European Union, India and Japan.
Wind power accounted for 36% of the growth in renewables-based power output.
World electricity demand increased by 3.1%, significantly higher than the overall increase in energy demand. Together, China and India accounted for 70% of this growth. Output from nuclear plants rose by 26 terrawatt hours (TWh) in 2017, as a significant amount of new nuclear capacity saw its first full year of operation.
Improvements in global energy efficiency slowed down dramatically in 2017, because of weaker improvement in efficiency policy coverage and stringency as well as lower energy prices.
Global energy intensity improved by only 1.7% in 2017, compared with an average of 2.3% over the last three years.