Energy demand rose 2.3 percent in 2018 — driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling needs, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said.
Natural gas has posted gains and accounting for 45 percent of the rise in energy consumption. Gas demand growth was especially strong in the United States and China.
Demand for all fuels increased, with fossil fuels meeting nearly 70 percent of the growth in energy demand. Solar and wind generation grew at double-digit pace, with solar increasing by 31 percent.
Energy-related CO2 emissions rose 1.7 percent to 33 Gigatonnes (Gt) in 2018. Coal use in power generation surpassed 10 Gt, accounting for a third of the total increase – driven by coal power plants in developing Asia.
Global electricity demand grew 4 percent to more than 23 000 TWh — pushing electricity towards a 20 percent share in total final consumption of energy. Increasing power generation was responsible for half of the growth in primary energy demand.
Renewables were a major contributor to this power generation expansion, accounting for nearly half of electricity demand growth. China is the leader in renewables, both for wind and solar, followed by Europe and the United States.
“We have seen an extraordinary increase in global energy demand in 2018, growing at its fastest pace this decade,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.
Almost a fifth of the increase in energy demand came from higher demand for heating and cooling as winter and summer temperatures in some regions approached or exceeded records.
Together, China, the United States, and India accounted for nearly 70 percent of the rise in energy demand.
United States saw the largest increase in oil and gas demand with the gas consumption growing at 10 percent.
Global gas demand rose 4.6 percent, driven by higher demand and substitution from coal. Demand growth was led by the United States. Gas demand in China increased almost 18 percent.
Oil demand grew 1.3 percent, with the United States leading the global increase for the first time in 20 years thanks to a strong expansion in petrochemicals, rising industrial production and trucking services.
Coal consumption rose 0.7 percent, with increases seen only in Asia, particularly in China, India and a few countries in South and Southeast Asia.
Nuclear grew by 3.3 percent in 2018, with generation reaching pre-Fukushima levels, mainly as a result of new additions in China and the restart of four reactors in Japan. Nuclear plants met 9 percent of the increase in electricity demand.