Sobering IEA figures on energy supply

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published its Key World Energy Statistics (KWES) 2020, making sobering reading on the way in which the world is currently creating energy.

KWES provides top-level numbers across the energy mix, from supply and demand, to prices and research budgets, including outlooks, energy indicators and definitions.

Fossil fuels continue to dominate globally, despite the rapid uptake in Europe, with oil and coal use at an all-time high (at 2018, the last reporting date).

Total energy supply has increased from 6,098 Mtoe in 1973 to 14,282 Mtoe (millions of oil equivalent) in 2018. In that near half-century oil has seen some decline in its place in the energy mix, falling 14 per cent, but coal has remains constant. Renewable sources have increased from 12.4 per cent to 13.8 per cent.

In OECD companies there is better news, with supply falling from a peak in 2007. Here coal has significantly fallen in use, and oil has reduced, with natural gas being the largest gainer in absolute terms. However, how much of this id due to increased efficiencies of offshoring manufacturer is difficult to discern.

In OECD countries oil use fell from 52.6 per cent in 1973 to 35.3 per cent in 2018, and coal from 22.6 per cent to 14.4 per cent.

The figures make for depressing reading, but there is some small glimmer of hope. Wind production is accelerating rapidly, with the top five producers (China, US, Germany, India and the UK) all reporting expansion of their respective programmes. In terms of the degree to which wind power forms domestic supply Spain tops the bill at 18.5 per cent, following jointly by the UK and Germany at 17.1 percent).

By the same measures, solar’s top five are China, US, Japan Germany and India. The top three with the most use of solar in their energy mix are Italy, Germany and Japan – the UK comes fourth.

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