Provisional IEA Data on Electricity Production: Coal Generation Reaches Highest Level – Renewable Generation Climbs to Second Place

Interesting new provisional data by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for 2013 show that driven by generation in non-OECD countries, electricity generated by coal reached its highest level yet at 9,613 TWh. This represents 41.1% of global electricity production. In the same year renewable electricity generation overtook natural gas to become the second largest source of electricity worldwide producing 22% of total electricity or 5,130 TWh. Global non-hydro renewable electricity also surpassed oil-fired generation for the first time ever in 2013, rising to 1,256 TWh or 5.4% of global electricity production.

In 2014, electricity production in the 34 members of the OECD fell slightly to 10,712 TWh, a decrease of 0.8% or 86 TWh compared to 2013. This decline was driven by lower fossil fuel and hydro production that were only partially offset by growth in non-hydro renewables (+8.5%) and nuclear (+0.9%).

Solar and wind were the main drivers of growth for non-hydro renewable electricity. In 2014, solar photovoltaic overtook solid biofuels to become the second largest source of non-hydro renewable electricity in OECD Europe, with a share of 17.3%. Since 1990, solar photovoltaic has been increasing at an average growth rate of 44.6% per year, and wind at 27.1% per year, IEA says.

The latest data released by the IEA show that global electricity generation increased by 2.9% between 2012 and 2013. Two distinct trends can be seen. Electricity generation is levelling off within the OECD, with a negative annual average growth rate (AAGR) of -0.35% between 2010 and 2013, while it is strongly rising in the rest of the world (AAGR 5.6%). As a consequence, in 2011 non-OECD countries produced more electricity than OECD countries for the first time in history.

With regard to the consumption of renewable energy IEA identified two patterns: in the non-OECD countries only 22.3% of renewables are used for electricity and heat production and 60.7% in the residential, commercial and public sectors; in the OECD countries, more than half of the renewable primary energy supply (58.5%) is used to generate electricity and heat.

Source: IEA

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