Updated January 2022
Final energy accounts for the consumption of each fuel used by an economy in its final form. Therefore fuel quantities used to generate electricity are accounted for separately from those used to generate heat (e.g coal combusted to generate electricity is accounted for separately from that combusted for purposes such as steel manufacture).
In 2019, world final energy was mainly consumed as:
- 22% electricity
- 63% heat from combustion of fossil fuels4 (e.g. combustion of oil products in engines, or coking coal to manufacture steel)
- 11% heat from combustion of biofuels and waste (this includes dung and wood, used by about 2.5 billion people for residential cooking and heating5), and
- 3% heat from other sources
Very little has changed since 1995, the year of the first UN climate change Conference of Parties (COP1)12.
About 83% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are emitted by the world energy system, and almost solely determine Earth’s long–term warming commitment13. Therefore, to limit global warming the world energy system must rapidly decarbonise, which requires the share of electricity in final energy to rapidly increase. Sadly though, over 25 years and 25 UN climate conferences, that share only grew from 15.6% to 21.7%.
The share of low carbon electricity generation in 2020 had almost returned to its value in 1995, after having significantly declined. This is explored further in World Electricity Generation.
- The IEA labels final energy as Total Final Consumption (TFC
- 37.0% + 15.9% + 9.9% = 62.8%
- BP does not fully account for biofuels, and these may not be carbon-neutral, as explained at https://www.worldenergydata.org/biofuels/
- 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’.
- The 21.7% share of electricity in 2019 equates to 50.6% under WWS, as shown by the black dashed segment. The share of electricity becomes greater because total energy consumption of a 100% WWS system reduces to 42.9% of business-as-usual, https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/TimelineDetailed.pdf, https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/CombiningRenew/WorldGridIntegration.pdf, 8.7/20.3 = 42.9%. This is due to: (a) using heat pumps for building heat; (b) using electricity for industrial heat; (c) using battery and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; (d) eliminating mining, transportation and processing of fuels, and (e) efficiency improvements.
- Also note: (i) Non-energy use of energy sources excluded (e.g. oil used for lubrication); (ii) Electricity losses include gas distribution, electricity transmission, and coal transport, and (iii) Examples of Electricity Industry Own-Use include energy consumed in coal mines, own consumption in power plants and energy used for oil and gas extraction, https://www.iea.org/statistics/resources/balancedefinitions/