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Report Reveals Findings Of A Year That Saw ‘Record Highs In An Energy-Hungry World’

A report published by the Energy Institute (EI) has revealed that 2023 saw record global energy consumption, with coal and oil pushing fossil fuels and their emissions to record levels, despite a record increase in renewable energy power.

The EI, the chartered professional membership body for people who work across the world of energy, has released the 73rd annual edition of the Statistical Review of World Energy. This analyses data on world energy markets from the prior year.

The report – co-authored with KPMG, a multinational professional services network, and Kearney, a global management consulting firm, with additional research undertaken by Heriot-Watt University – presents full global energy data for 2023.

It found that in 2023 global primary energy use climbed to a record high of 620 Exajoules (EJ), up 2% on the previous year. 1EJ is equivalent to about 170 million barrels of oil.

Fossil fuels’ share in the overall energy mix dropped slightly from 82% to 81.5%. However, emissions from energy increased by 2%, exceeding 40 gigatonnes of CO2 for the first time.

It’s not all bad news, however, as global renewable electricity generation rose 13% from 2022 to hit a record 4,748 terawatt hours.

This growth was dominated by wind and solar, which accounted for 74% of all net additional electricity generated.

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The report also found that the ongoing Ukraine conflict has led to gas rebalancing in Europe, with European gas demand falling by 7%. In 2022 it fell by 13%.

Russia’s share of EU gas imports fell to 15%, down from 45% in 2021, with LNG imports outflanking piped gas to Europe for a second year in a row.

In major advanced economies, the report predicts that the dependence on fossil fuels is likely to have peaked. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels in Europe fell to below 70% of primary energy use, driven by demand reduction and renewable energy growth. In the US it fell to 80%.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, growth economies are struggling to curb fossil fuel growth. This includes India, where fossil fuel consumption was up 8%, and Africa, where fossil fuels account for 90% of overall energy use.

While China also saw fossil fuel use increase to a new high, renewables are accelerating in the country. In 2023, China accounted for 55% of all renewable generation additions globally.

EI president Juliet Davenport OBE said: “In this year’s Statistical Review, we report on another year of highs in our energy-hungry world. 2023 saw record consumption of fossil fuels and record emissions from energy, but also record generation of renewables, driven by increasingly competitive wind and solar energy.”

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EI chief executive Nick Wayth said: “The progress of the transition is slow, but the big picture masks diverse energy stories playing out across different geographies.

“In advanced economies we observe signs of demand for fossil fuels peaking, contrasting with economies in the Global South for whom economic development and improvements in quality of life continue to drive fossil growth.”

Romain Debarre, partner and managing director of Energy Transition Institute at Kearney, added: “With global temperature increases closing in on 1.5°C, we hope that this report will help governments, world leaders and analysts move forward, clear-eyed about the challenge that lies ahead and ready to take a lead in promoting and enabling the use of clean energy across the world.”

Source: E&T


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