Coal’s share of world energy at highest since 1970

Coal is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the world, rising by 3%, new figures revealed today. Though coal growth came in below a 10-year average of 3.9%, its share […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Coal is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the world, rising by 3%, new figures revealed today.

Though coal growth came in below a 10-year average of 3.9%, its share of global energy reached the highest since 1970, nearly a third (30.1%).

Outside of the wealthy nations of the OECD, coal use rose by 3.7% (under the average for previous years’ rises) but still made up 89% of global growth according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2014.

Oil prices have remained “unusually stable”, it found, although levels topped $100 per barrel for a third consecutive year.

This stability came despite Libyan civil unrest denting oil production. The review put this down to a “big increase” in oil from the United States, getting oil from shale rock and other ‘tight’ rock formations.

BP Chief Economist Christof Rühl said: “The US increase in 2013 – up by 1.1 million barrels a day – was one of the biggest annual oil production increases the world has ever seen.”

On the gas front, global use grew 1.4% but growth was below average in every region apart from North America. EU gas consumption fell to the lowest level since 1999.

World nuclear output rose by 0.9%, the first increase since 2010. However it held a 4.4% share of global energy use, its smallest since 1984.

The amount of hydroelectricity pumped grew by a below average 2.9%, making up 6.7% of global energy use.

Renewable energy sources (for power generation and transport) reached a record 2.7% share of global energy use, up from 0.8% a decade ago. Wind energy was more than half of this growth.

Guzzling ever more energy, the emerging economies dominated growth demand yet again, accounting for 80% of growth last year and nearly 100% of growth over the past decade.