Despite stagnant global economic growth, global primary energy consumption accelerated in 2013, according to BP…Consumption rose more rapidly than production for each of the fossil fuel groups. The data used by BP, also suggests that global CO2 emissions from energy use accelerated in 2013, although it remained below average.
It seems that emerging economies dominated global growth once again, but the increase was below the ten year average in these countries, and above average in the OECD. China had the largest growth increment, followed by the US. Consumption in the EU and Japan fell to the lowest levels since 1995 and 1993 respectively.
Emerging economies account for eighty percent of the global increase in energy consumption, even though growth in these countries was a below average three point one per-cent. Spain recorded (minus five per cent) the largest volumetric decline in energy consumption.
For each of the fossil fuels, global consumption rose more rapidly than production. This means that global CO2 emissions from energy use also accelerated in 2013, although it remained below average.
In the light of the above should we not be looking at renewable energy, energy that is derived from natural processes? Energy that is replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed. Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and some forms of biomass are a common source of renewable energy.
It was reported that in 2009, the world relied on renewable sources for around 13.1% of its primary energy supply, according to IEA statistics. Renewables accounted for 19.5% of global electricity generation and 3% of global energy consumption for road transport in the same year.
Global wind power capacity was 238 Gigawatts at the end of 2011, up from just 18 GW at the end of 2000, with an average growth rate of over 25%.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) directly converts solar energy into electricity using a PV cell, this is a semiconductor device. The global total of solar PV was roughly 67 GW at the end of 2011, to be compared with just 1.5 GW in 2000. The average growth rate over the last five years has averaged just over 50%. Growth has been mainly concentrated in a few countries.
Global biofuel production grew from 16 billion litres in 2000, to more than 1000 billion litres in 2010. This provides around 3% of the world’s fuel for transport. In Brazil biofuel provides 23% of all transport fuel, compared with 4% in the US and 3% in the EU.
Variable renewables include wind, solar, wave and tidal energy, and are based on sources that fluctuate during the course of any given season or day. It is heartening that the renewable energy sector is demonstrating its capacity to deliver cost reductions, provided that appropriate policy frameworks are in place and enacted. Deployment of renewables is expanding rapidly, non-hydro renewables, such as wind and solar PV, are increasing at double digit annual growth rates. Costs have been reducing and a portfolio of renewable energy technologies is becoming cost-competitive in an increasing set of circumstances. Technologies such as hydro and geothermal are often fully competitive. When conditions are favourable technologies such as onshore wind are almost competitive. The IEA believe that further growth on renewable energy is essential for a secure and sustainable energy system.
The IEA ultimately believe that the world needs a clean energy revolution in order to break dependence on fossil fuels.