World electricity generation

In 2019, annual electricity generation by fossil fuels reduced for the first time since 2015; the only instances in the past decade.
During 2016-19, additional wind electricity generation faltered, and that from solar slowed.

All statistics shown are the most recent available as of late 2020. Only BP’s dataset is used because it’s the most recent and thorough for electricity.

Chart 1. World electricity generation by share, 2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2
Chart 2. World electricity generation by share of fuel type category, 1999-2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2 3
Chart 3. World electricity generation by share of fuel type, 1999-2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2

Charts 4 & 5 show annual changes to electricity generation. In 2019, annual electricity generation by fossil fuels reduced for the first time since 2015; the only instances in the past decade. The reduction in 2019 was by an amount equivalent to 59% of the reduction in 2009 during the Global Financial Crisis.4 5

Chart 4. Annual change of world electricity generation, by fuel category, 1985-2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2

Chart 5 shows this net reduction is attributable to a reduction from coal and oil, as occurred in 2015 and 2009. Additional generation by gas is incessant.

Chart 5. Annual change of world electricity generation, by fuel type, 1986-2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2 3

Annual change of electricity generation is detailed below, separately for each fuel category and fuel type. Annual absolute values are displayed in the upper rows to help convey the significance of the changes displayed in the middle and bottom rows.

Chart 6. World electricity annual generation (top) and annual change (bottom), by fuel type category, 1999-2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2 6 3
Upper row: Annual absolute value. Middle row: Absolute annual change in units of exajoules. Lower row: Annual year on year change shown alongside corresponding number of years to double (if positive) or halve (if negative).

Significant changes of individual fuels are listed below and shown in charts 7a and 7b.

Coal

The change of coal fired generation has been volatile since 2008 and there is inadequate evidence of a sustained decline.

Gas

There have been large additions of gas fired generation in most years of the past decade.

Wind & Solar

During 2017-19, additional electricity generation from wind faltered and that from solar slowed. Although doubling times shown are relatively short, they did not dramatically reduce, and so expansion did not accelerate.

Chart 7a. World electricity annual generation and annual change, by fuel type, 1999-2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2 6 7
Upper row: Annual absolute value. Middle row: Absolute annual change in units of exajoules. Lower row: Annual year on year change shown alongside corresponding number of years to double (if positive) or halve (if negative).
Chart 7b. World electricity annual generation and annual change, by fuel type, 1999-2019. Data: BP(2020).1 2 6 7
Upper row: Annual absolute value. Middle row: Absolute annual change in units of exajoules. Lower row: Annual year on year change shown alongside corresponding number of years to double (if positive) or halve (if negative).
Footnotes
  1. https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html()()()()()()()()
  2. BP does not fully account for biofuels, and these may not be carbon-neutral, as explained at https://www.worldenergydata.org/biofuels/()()()()()()()()
  3. Classification ‘Other’ is small and omitted for clarity.()()()
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%932008()
  5. -117/-198 = 0.59()
  6. Biofuels on this website are the summation of solid and liquid biofuels, and therefore Geothermal, Biofuels and Other equals the summation of BP’s data for ‘Geo, Biomass and Other’ and ‘Biofuels’.()()()
  7. Classification ‘Other’ small and omitted for clarity.()()