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Wind and solar combined to generate a record 10% of the world's electricity in 2021.

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2o22, which covers energy data through 2021, was issued last week. On a country-by-country basis, the Review presents a complete picture of supply and demand for main energy sources. It serves as a primary data source for many businesses, government entities, and non-governmental groups.

I've been researching the data and making visuals since its release. I seek to find knowledge nuggets and analyze data in novel ways. In subsequent posts, I will go into greater detail about the many energy categories, but for now, I'd want to present a high-level overview of this year's Review.

The impact of the Covid-19 epidemic continues to dominate energy usage and consumption data. Energy consumption and production fell precipitously in 2020, but demand has since recovered. However, supply chain bottlenecks have hampered energy producers' capacity to respond. As a result, energy prices have skyrocketed.

Overview of Energy

Last year, primary global energy consumption increased by 5.5 percent to a new all-time high. This represents the strongest gain in energy consumption since the early 1970s, and reflects robust global demand rebounding from 2020's Covid-19 energy consumption decrease.

Last year, fossil fuels accounted for 82 percent of primary energy consumption, roughly the same as in 2020, but down from 83 percent in 2019 and 85 percent five years ago. Hydroelectric power (6.8 percent), renewables (6.7 percent), and nuclear power accounted for the remainder of primary energy use (4.2 percent ).

Global carbon dioxide emissions increased by 5.9 percent in 2021, resuming where they left off in 2020. However, this is still roughly 1% lower than in 2019 and 2019.

Oil continues to account for approximately one-third of global energy consumption. The globe consumed 94.1 million barrels of oil per day (BPD) in 2021. This represents a 6.0 percent increase over 2020, but it is still 3.7 percent lower than consumption in 2019.

Global oil output increased by 1.4 million BPD in 2021, but remains 5.0 million BPD lower than in 2019. The United States' output remains 529,000 BPD lower than in 2019.

Refinery capacity fell by approximately 500,000 BPD in 2021, the first drop in over 30 years. This is one element contributing to the increase in finished product prices such as gasoline and diesel.

Gas, natural

Natural gas has been the fastest-growing fossil fuel in recent years, with an average annual growth rate of 2.2 percent over the last decade.

Following a decline in 2020, global natural gas consumption increased by 5.3 percent to a new all-time high.

The United States will continue to be the global leader in both natural gas production and consumption in 2021. In 2021, the United States will produce 23% of the world's natural gas. Russia was in second place, accounting for 17% of the worldwide market.


Since peaking in 2014, global coal usage has been declining. However, consumption increased by 6.3 percent in 2020, nearly matching 2014 levels.

China's coal usage increased by 4.9 percent, setting a new all-time record. China is still by far the world's greatest producer and user of coal, accounting for 53.8 percent of global consumption and 50.8 percent of global output.

Coal demand in OECD countries increased in 2021, but it remained the second lowest in the Review's history, dating back to 1965. US coal demand increased in 2021, although it remained the second-lowest level since the Review began tracking it in 1965.

Coal remained the primary fuel for global power generation in 2021, with a 36% share, up from 35.1 percent in 2020.

Nuclear and renewable energy

Renewable energy is quickly expanding. In 2021, global renewable energy consumption increased by an astounding 15%, setting a new high.

Solar energy consumption increased by a record 1.7 exajoules (EJ) — a 22 percent rise — but wind power (+2.5 EJ) contributed the most to renewables growth.

Wind and solar power combined provided 2,894 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2021. In comparison, the figure in 2010 was 380 TWh.

Wind and solar combined for a 10.2 percent share of power generation in 2021, the first time wind and solar combined for more than 10% of worldwide generation.

Nuclear consumption increased by 4.2 percent in 2021, reaching its highest level since 2006. With a 29 percent share of the global total, the United States is the world's greatest user of nuclear electricity. China's consumption is rapidly increasing, and it presently accounts for 14.6 percent of global consumption. In 2010, China accounted for only 2.7 percent of global nuclear power consumption.

Summary: Companies that produce, transport, or sell oil and natural gas should do well in the near future. That has undoubtedly been the case as demand has rebounded.

However, wind and solar power will continue to expand for many years. As the globe continues to electrify its transportation networks, demand for electricity will skyrocket. Renewables will be asked to bear a growing burden.

Supply chain concerns will continue to restrain the world's energy system for the foreseeable future, but excessive inflation might push the world into recession, changing the outlook considerably.


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