Global energy demand grew by 2.2% in 2017, up from 1.2% last year and above its 10-year average of 1.7%, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy which was released this week.
Though the report attributed the above-trend growth to OECD countries, particularly the European Union (EU), the vast majority of the increase in global energy consumption came from the developing world, accounting for nearly 80% of the expansion.
China alone contributed over a third of that growth, with energy consumption growing by more than 3% in 2017, almost three times the rate seen over the past couple of years. This sharp pickup was driven by a rebound in the output of some of China’s most energy-intensive sectors, particularly iron, crude steel and non-ferrous metals. Despite this increase, the growth of China’s energy demand in 2017 was still significantly slower than its 10-year average, and its rate of decline in energy intensity was more than twice the global average.
Around 60% of the increase in primary energy was provided by natural gas and renewable energy. Natural gas (3.0%, 83 Mtoe*) provided the single largest contribution to the growth of primary energy, buoyed by exceptional growth in China. This was closely followed by renewable energy (including biofuels) (14.8%, 72 Mtoe), which again grew rapidly – punching far above its weight – driven by robust growth in both wind and solar power.
Coal grew for the first time since 2013, by 1.0% or 25 Mtoe, largely driven by India, though it is also notable that Chinese coal consumption increased after three years of successive falls.
Introducing the 2018 edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said “2017 was a year where structural forces in the energy market continued to push forward the transition to a lower carbon economy, but where cyclical factors have reversed or slowed some of the gains from prior years. These factors, combined with rising demand for energy, has resulted in a material increase in carbon emissions following three years of little or no growth.”
For the first time, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy includes data on the fuel mix in the power sector, which strikingly is unchanged from 20 years ago, and key materials (eg, lithium and cobalt) for the changing energy world.
“As we have said in our Energy Outlook, our Technology Outlook and now our Statistical Review, the power system must decarbonize. We continue to believe that gains in the power sector are the most efficient way to drive down carbon emissions in coming decades,” Dudley said.
*metric tons of oil equivalent