Image of sustainable energy transition Image of sustainable energy transition

Taking Stock: How Close Are We to a Sustainable Energy Transition?

While there are some positive trends, overall our global energy appetite is as strong as ever.

August 31, 2023

In June 2023, The Energy Institute (EI) published the 2023 Statistical Review of World Energy™, one of the leading statistical publications in its field providing timely, comprehensive and objective data to the energy community since 1952. 

Let’s take a look at some macro trends in renewable energies and how they compare to fossil fuel consumption.

+1.1% increase in global primary energy consumption in 2022

In 2022, global primary energy consumption totaled 604.04 exajoules, an increase of 1.1% compared to 2021 (and almost 3% more than the pre-Covid level in 2019). Just like 2021, this increase in demand was driven by emerging economies (which in this report also includes China).

Source: Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2023

2022 saw the largest increase ever recorded in new wind and solar production capacity

Combined, these two renewable sources achieved a record 11.7% share of electricity generation, with solar up 25% and wind up 13.5%, surpassing nuclear power as a source.

China continues to make a major contribution to the growth of both solar and wind capacity, accounting for 37% and 41%, respectively, of global capacity additions in 2022.

Source: Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2023

In 2022, fossil fuels still accounted for nearly 82% of primary energy consumption and about 61% of global electricity generation

The dominance of fossil fuels has remained virtually unchanged. Oil consumption continued to rise, increasing 2.9 million barrels per day to 97.3 million barrels per day. This was, however, a smaller increase than between 2020 and 2021.

Coal consumption also continued to increase (+0.6% to 161 exajoules compared to 2021), reaching the highest level since 2014.

At the same time, natural gas consumption decreased 3% worldwide and, despite sanctions, Russia still accounted for almost a third of European gas imports during the year.

Source: Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2023

Despite strong growth in renewables, global energy-related emissions also grew a further 0.9%

Emissions from energy use continued to rebound strongly, increasing 0.9% from 2021 to a record 34.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and accounting for 87% of total global emissions. The Asia Pacific region continues to increase its share of total global emissions.

EI President Juliet Davenport said: “Despite continued strong growth of wind and solar in the energy sector, global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions have risen again. We are always moving in the opposite direction to that required by the Paris Agreement.”

Source: Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2023

The 2023 Statistical Review of World Energy is available on the Energy Institute’s website.