Saturday, June 11, 2016

The BP Statistical Review if World Energy

The annual Review has just been published (  The data are readily downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.  A few minutes work soon gives an excellent idea of the trends in the world’s energy. The changes since 1965 in the consumption of the primary energy sources, in millions of tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), are:

Global consumption continues to increase. A linear model suggest an annual growth of 176±7 Mtoe over the full period, although in this century it has been growing far faster, 265±18Mtoe annually. Much of this acceleration in growth has come from the use of coal, but that has slowed in recent years with the downturn in the Chinese economy.
Those who are concerned about our fossil fuel use will be gratified to know that we are getting a little less of our energy from fossils: 

The Kyoto Protocol seemed to have the effect of increasing our fossil consumption between 1996 and 2008. It took the economic catastrophe of 2008 to have any impact, and the relative consumption is now falling.

Some would point to the growth in renewable energy supplies, and indeed renewables are no longer completely insignificant. If we look at electrical generation rather than primary energy, then today nuclear yields about 2 500TWh annually, hydropower about 4 000TWh and renewables about 1500TWh:

Nuclear has started to grow slowly; hydropower is growing steadily at about 90TWh per annum; and renewable are growing exponentially – the past year added over 200TWh to renewable generation.  This growth comes primarily from wind power:

although solar photovoltaics have started to grow rapidly.

The BP Review permits a review of the efficiency of wind and solar power, because it gives both the installed capacity and the energy generated. The global capacity factor for solar PV was below 10% but has risen to about 12% in recent years. The capacity factor for wind has been growing steadily and is now about 22%:

The annual BP Statistical Review is a rich resource indeed, and my mining has only just scratched the surface.  For those having ambitions to control temperature rises by reducing fossil fuel consumption, it gives cold comfort – fossil fuel use is still growing at over 150Mtoe per annum and will make up more than 80% of global energy for quite a few years yet. Who are the culprits?  From the Review, you can soon work out who uses most fossil fuel.  Throw in population figures, however, and it is evident that the per capita consumption varies dramatically:

China consumes more fossil fuel than the US and Canada put together, but the average Chinese burns less than 2t of fossil fuel each year, where the average American burns over 6t and the average Saudi burns nearly 10t. India burns over 600Mtoe every year, but the average Indian uses just over 0.5t annually. If the Indian economy were to double, which is by no means impossible, it would use more fossil fuel than the US. 

There are those who strongly believe the globe is on a path to ruin unless the energy system is "decarbonised". The BP Review gives the hard facts. “Decarbonisation” is the stuff of dreams.

1 comment:

Infinity said...

Good stuff Prof, cheap energy is what it is all about and when one source becomes more expensive than another, be it extraction cost or carbon taxes, then it will take centre stage and forge ahead.