World Final Energy

Updated August 2023.

Final energy accounts the consumption of energy in final forms, thereby accounting for electricity separately from heat (e.g energy consumed for steel manufacture or by transport). This is opposed to other measures such as ‘Primary energy’ that accounts for energy prior to conversions to electricity. For help, see the introduction.

This page uses IEA data to display final energy (i.e energy consumption), for which the most recent year at time of publishing is 2020. Alternative data, such as that from The Energy Institute and used on this site’s other pages, is unsuitable for displaying final energy.

World final energy from 1990 to 2020 is shown below, with the electricity share expanded to show shares of generation from each fuel.

Chart 1. Annual world energy consumption (i.e final energy) by share. Data: IEA(2022)1. The Heat share refers to consumed heat produced by combined heat and power plants, and chemical reactions.

Little changed between 1990 and 2020, except for the increase of total annual energy consumption, as shown by the increased area of the uppermost pie charts. Decarbonisation requires a much greater share of electricity, but that share grew from only 13.4% to 20.5%. And while shares of low carbon electricity generation increased from 31% in 2010, to 36% in 2020, the share in 1990 was also 36%.

The above pie charts of each year are combined below to show the annual gross world energy consumption of each fuel, showing electric and non-electric energy consumption combined.

Chart 2. Annual gross world energy consumption (i.e final energy) by share. Data: IEA(2022)2.
Geothermal and tidal shares are too small to show in the lower row for years 1990 and 2000.
Statistics were calculated by converting annual electricity production for each fuel from units of Wh to Joules, and then tallying these with respective ‘heat’ values associated with electricity generation, and thermal ‘total final consumption’ values from direct combustion. This method was used because total final consumption of electricity from separate fuels is unknown. The consequence is that Electricity Imports, Exports, Statistical Differences, Electricity Losses and Industry Own Use are included and therefore assumed to be equally shared between fuels, which is of course not the case.

The share of fossil fuels consumed in 2020 was almost the same as that in 1990. Over this time period of 31 years and 25 UN climate conferences –

  • the share of fossil fuels reduced by only 2.6%,
  • total annual energy consumption increased 54%3, and
  • the share of ‘low-carbon fuels’ increased 3.2%, from 5.7 to 8.9%.
  3. (400,819,445 TJ – 261,073,952 TJ)/261,073,952 TJ) = 54%.()