EGEE 102
Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection

Global Energy Consumption


The world's total primary energy consumption in 2012 was 549.3 Quadrillion Btus. Table 2.1 below shows various regions and total primary energy consumption history.

Region 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2012
World's Total Primary Energy Consumption in Quadrillion Btus
North America 91.6 91.0 100 109 118 121 118 116.2
Central and S. America 11.5 12.3 14.5 17.6 20.8 23.2 26.9 28.7
Europe 71.8 72.9 76.3 76.7 81.5 85.8 83.8 81.4
Eurasia 46.7 55.7 61.0 42.2 39.2 43 42.8 46.1
Africa 6.8 8.5 9.5 10.7 12.0 14.5 16.3 17.4
Asia & Oceania 48.9 58.1 73.4 93.5 111 149 194 202
WORLD TOTAL 283 307 346 363 400 459 511 549

From the Table 2.1, it can be seen that the energy consumption is high for the Far East and Oceania. The amount of energy used depends on the economic prosperity of the nation and the population of the country. The North American region includes Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The Far East and Oceania include developed nations such as Japan and Australia, and densely populated developing nations such as China and India. Obviously, due to highly populated countries like China and India, total energy consumption does not reflect the quality of life of the people in those countries. Figure 2.1 shows the energy per capita consumption over the last 30 years. As can be seen from the graph that Far East and Oceania used a lot of energy as a region, but per capita energy consumption is relatively low implying that when each person in that region consumes as much as in North America, that Region's energy consumption would skyrocket.

Percapita Energy Consumption
Per Capita Energy Consumption (MMBTU/person)
Credit: Sarma Pisupati

The productivity of a country is measured by the total value (dollars) of goods and services, called Gross Domestic Product (GDP), produced by its people. Therefore, the average value of goods and services produced by each person - the GDP per capita of a country - is an indicator of the quality of life.

Energy intensity is the relationship between energy consumption and growth in gross domestic product (GDP), and it is an important factor that affects changes in energy consumption over time.

  • In industrialized countries, history shows the link between energy consumption and economic growth to be a relatively weak one, with growth in energy demand lagging behind economic growth.
  • In developing countries, however, the link between energy consumption and economic growth have been more closely correlated with energy demand growing in parallel with economic expansion.

The total primary energy consumption of the world in 2012 was 540 Quadrillion Btus.

Energy Intensity
Credit: Sarma Pisupati

Global Energy Consumption and GDP per person

In general, as the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per person of any country increases, the amount of energy that is consumed is also expected to increase.

  • For developing nations, the correlation is much stronger.
  • For developed nations, the correlation is weak.

For example, Iceland, Finland, the United States, and the Netherlands, with similar GDP per capita, have significant differences in energy consumption per capita. In other words, to produce one dollar's worth of goods and services, the U.S. uses twice the energy of the Netherlands. Similarly, Iceland uses four times the energy of the Netherlands.

Energy Consumption as a Function of Quality of Life
Credit: Sarma Pisupati

Energy Consumption Differences

The differences in energy consumption among countries are the result of:

  • efficiency of industrial, transportation, commercial, and residential energy,
  • climatic and geographical areas of a country,
  • lifestyles (use of more gas guzzling cars and SUVs and bigger sized houses), and
  • the nature of the products produced by the nation's industries.