The data collected in this year’s bp Statistical Review of World Energy include energy data for 2020 – one of the most turbulent years the world has ever seen. This year’s Review captures the dramatic impact the global pandemic had on energy markets and how the year of COVID may help shape future global energy trends.
Both primary energy consumption and carbon emissions from energy use fell at their fastest rate seen since the Second World War, while renewable energy continued its trajectory of strong growth, with wind and solar power recording their largest ever annual increase.
Primary energy consumption fell by 4.5 per cent in 2020 while carbon emissions from energy use fell by over 6 per cent, the largest annual decline since 1945, a fall which was mainly driven by oil, which accounted for almost three-quarters of the net decline. Natural gas prices declined to multi-year lows, however, the share of gas in primary energy continued to rise, reaching a record high of 24.7 per cent. Wind, solar and hydroelectricity generation all grew despite the fall in overall energy demand. Wind and solar capacity increased by a colossal 238 gigawatts (GW) in 2020, 50 per cent larger than at any time in history.
By country, the US, India and Russia saw the largest declines in energy consumption. China saw the largest increase (2.1 per cent), one of only a handful of countries where energy demand grew last year.
“For the Review – as for so many of us – 2020 will go down as one of the most surprising and challenging years in its life,” said Spencer Dale, bp’s chief economist. “The global lockdowns had a dramatic impact on energy markets, particularly on oil, whose transport-related demand was crushed. Encouragingly, 2020 was also the year the share of renewables in global power generation recorded its fastest-ever increase – a growth that came largely at the expense of coal-fired generation. These trends are exactly what the world needs to see as it transitions to net-zero – strong growth in renewables crowding out coal.”
Read the full report here.