Categories

World Primary Energy

Updated November 2021

Primary energy accounts for energy supplied in its primary form, prior to any conversions such as coal to electricity. This is explained further in this website’s guide.

This page uses data form the IEA1 and BP2. The IEA label for primary energy is ‘Total Energy Supply (TES)’, and the label used by BP is ‘Primary Energy Consumption’.

As of November 2021, the most recent year of data from the IEA was 2019, and 2020 from BP.

Annual shares

IEA, 2019:
Fossil fuels: 77%
Biofuels & waste: 9%
Nuclear: 4%
Hydro: 6%
Wind & solar: 3%
Geothermal: 0.3%
Marine: 0.0015%

BP, 2020:
Fossil fuels: 83%
Biofuels, geothermal & other: 2%
Nuclear: 4%
Hydro: 7%
Wind & solar: 4%

Values rounded.

Charts of both datasets are shown below.3

Although BP’s data is more recent than the IEA’s, it doesn’t fully account for biofuels, plausibly excluding fuels not traded on financial markets such as dung and wood, used by about 2.5 billion people for residential cooking and heating4. Because of this the shares of fossil fuels in the charts below differ.

Also note that grouping of the upper charts differ because of different categorisations of the data sets. Biofuels in BP’s data set may not be renewable, and there is no means to separate this from geothermal data. Therefore the segment ‘Biofuels + Other + Geothermal’ is shown separately and not grouped with ‘Wind + Solar’ to form a ‘Non-Hydro Renewables’ segment.

Chart 1. World primary energy by share.
Left: IEA15 6.
Right: BP2 7 8 9.

Trends

Chart 2. World primary energy by fuel category, 1965 – 2020.
Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.

Chart 3 shows that since 1995, the year of the United Nations first Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP1)10, annual reductions of fossil fuels have occurred only twice – due to the Global Financial Crisis11 and COVID-1912.

Chart 3. Annual change of world primary energy by fuel category since the first United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties10, COP1 in 1995. Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.
Value shown at the top of columns is annual change, rounded, in units of exajoules per year.
Chart 4. World primary energy by share of fuel category, 1965 – 2020.
Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.
Chart 5. World primary energy by share of fuel, 1965 – 2020.
Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.
Chart 6. World primary energy by share of fuel, 2000 – 2020.
Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.
Chart 7. World primary energy quantity, absolute change, and rate of change, by fuel category, 1965 – 2020.
Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.
Top row: Quantity (exajoules). Middle row: Absolute change (exajoules per year, values rounded for clarity). Bottom row: Coloured columns are rate of change (% year-on-year). Black line is 5 year moving average of rate of change (% year-on-year). Clear columns are equivalent number of years for quantity shown in top row to double (if column is positive) or halve (if negative).
Chart 8. World primary energy quantity, absolute change, and rate of change, by fuel, 1965 – 2020, part 1 of 2.
Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.
Top row: Quantity (exajoules). Middle row: Absolute change (exajoules per year, values rounded for clarity). Bottom row: Coloured columns are rate of change (% year-on-year). Black line is 5 year moving average of rate of change (% year-on-year). Clear columns are equivalent number of years for quantity shown in top row to double (if column is positive) or halve (if negative).
Chart 9. World primary energy quantity, absolute change, and rate of change, by fuel, 1965 – 2020, part 2 of 2.
Data: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212 7 8.
Top row: Quantity (exajoules). Middle row: Absolute change (exajoules per year, values rounded for clarity). Bottom row: Coloured columns are rate of change (% year-on-year). Black line is 5 year moving average of rate of change (% year-on-year). Clear columns are equivalent number of years for quantity shown in top row to double (if column is positive) or halve (if negative).

Carbon intensity

One measure of carbon intensity is the annual mass of emitted CO₂ per unit of primary energy. This is a measure of the carbonisation of an energy system.

Until year 2000, world carbon intensity had been declining since the 1960s. This trend reversed and didn’t return to this level until 2016. Humanity made no progress to decarbonise the world energy system during this 16 year period, and the rate of decarbonisation since has been roughly the same as that during 1990-2000.

Chart 10. World carbon intensity.
Data: Calculated using BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212

Carbon intensity of regions and national economies in 2020 is shown in red in the upper rows of the charts below. The dashed line in each is world average.
Changes since 1995, the year of the first United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP1)10 are shown in black in the middle rows, with the dashed line denoting no net-change. The bottoms rows show change of fossil fuel CO₂ emissions since 1995.

Chart 11. Carbon intensity of World and American national energy systems in 2020. Data: Calculated using BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212
Upper rows: Absolute values of carbon intensity in 2020. Dashed lines indicate value of world average in 2020.
Middle rows: Change of carbon intensity since 1995, the year of the first United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP1)10. Carbon intensity of region or country in 2020, divided by value in 1995. Dashed line indicates the respective country’s level in 1995, and therefore no net-change. A value less than 100% indicates decarbonisation.
Bottom rows: Change of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels since 1995. Dashed line indicates the respective region’s or country’s level in 1995.
Chart 12. Carbon intensity of European national energy systems in 2020.
Data: Calculated using BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212
Upper rows: Absolute values of carbon intensity in 2020. Dashed lines indicate value of world average in 2020.
Middle rows: Change of carbon intensity since 1995, the year of the first United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP1)10. Carbon intensity of region or country in 2020, divided by value in 1995. Dashed line indicates the respective country’s level in 1995, and therefore no net-change. A value less than 100% indicates decarbonisation.
Bottom rows: Change of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels since 1995. Dashed line indicates the respective region’s or country’s level in 1995.
Chart 13. Carbon intensity of CIS, Middle Eastern, African and Asian Pacific national energy systems national energy systems in 2020.
Data: Calculated using BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20212
Upper rows: Absolute values of carbon intensity in 2020. Dashed lines indicate value of world average in 2020.
Middle rows: Change of carbon intensity since 1995, the year of the first United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP1)10. Carbon intensity of region or country in 2020, divided by value in 1995. Dashed line indicates the respective country’s level in 1995, and therefore no net-change. A value less than 100% indicates decarbonisation.
Bottom rows: Change of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels since 1995. Dashed line indicates the respective region’s or country’s level in 1995.
Footnotes
  1. https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-browser?country=WORLD&fuel=Energy%20supply&indicator=TESbySource()()
  2. https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html()()()()()()()()()()()()()()
  3. The method used by the IEA on their own site uses their own method for TES calculations that rely on accountancy which relatively enlarges the contribution of nuclear energy, and diminishes that from other non-combustibles. This site overcomes this as explained in this website’s guide. The method of primary energy equivalency used by the IEA is the physical energy content method, which applies the following weights to non-combustible energy supplies: Nuclear = 33%, Geothermal heat = 50%, Geothermal electricity = 10%, Solar thermal heat = 100%, Solar thermal electricity = 33%, Hydro, wind, marine and solarPV = 100%. For further information see section A.II.4, Krey V., O. Masera, G. Blanford, T. Bruckner, R. Cooke, K. Fisher-Vanden, H. Haberl, E. Hertwich, E. Kriegler, D. Mueller, S. Paltsev, L. Price, S. Schlömer, D. Ürge-Vorsatz, D. van Vuuren, and T. Zwickel, 2014: Annex II: Metrics & Methodology. In: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_annex-ii.pdf()
  4. https://www.worldenergydata.org/biofuels/()
  5. Substitution method of primary energy equivalency applied to non-combustible data. For more information see this website’s guide.()
  6. The share of marine energy (tidal, wave, etc) is too small to show, at 0.0015%.()
  7. BP does not fully account for biofuels, and these may not be carbon-neutral, as explained at https://www.worldenergydata.org/biofuels/()()()()()()()()()
  8. Biofuels on this website are the summation of solid and liquid biofuels, and therefore ‘Biofuels + Other + Geothermal’ equals the summation of BP’s data for ‘Geo, Biomass and Other’ and ‘Biofuels’.()()()()()()()()()
  9. ‘Non-hydro renewables’ is not shown in lower left hand side chart of BP’s dataset because data for geothermal and other non-hydro renewables is not available separately in BP’s dataset.()
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Climate_Change_conference#1995:_COP_1,_Berlin,_Germany()()()()()()
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%932008()
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19()