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A World of Energy, the 2015 edition: all the key energy indicators

The growth of renewables, falling CO2 emissions in Europe, the emergence of local carbon markets, and national commitments to combat global warming… all are highlighted in the 2015 edition of A World of Energy. Created by the ENGIE Strategy Department, this publication brings together the key global energy indicators for the year.

The 2015 edition of A World of Energy focuses on the energy transition. 2014 and 2015 saw profound changes in the world energy environment alongside concerted international commitment to act on climate issues.

>> A World of Energy – 2015 Edition

Fossil fuels still dominate the global energy mix, but their pace of growth has slowed considerably

Despite accelerating world growth, demand for energy rose only slightly in 2014. This fact is explained partly by stagnation in energy demand from China, largely as a result of structural changes in its national economy, and partly by falling energy consumption in OECD countries.

  • Having been driven by strong demand from emerging countries for many years, consumption of coal fell by 0.7% in 2014 as a result of lower consumption in China, which accounts for half of total demand.
  • Reduced economic activity in OECD countries meant that global demand for oil virtually stagnated in 2014. This factor contributed to a fall in the cost of oil per barrel.
  • Demand for natural gas rose slightly by 0.3% in 2014. However, the long-term contribution of gas to the global energy mix remains extremely stable, confirming its future role in achieving the energy transition thanks to its complementarity with renewables and low carbon content.
  • The rapid expansion of renewables around the world continues, especially in the photovoltaic sector, where costs have fallen substantially. Renewables contributed 23% of global power generation in 2014, compared with 20% five years earlier.

Although 2/3 of the world's electricity is still generated using fossil fuels, this contribution has fallen consistently for the last 3 years. As a result, the energy industry is experiencing trends that confirm the ongoing existence of an energy transition.

The growth in renewables sends a clear sign that the global energy system is changing

Renewable power generation now contributes around one-third of the world's power generating resources. 2014 will prove to have been a pivotal year of change, because despite the marked reduction in fossil fuel prices, the proportion of additional net capacity worldwide accounted for by renewables reached its highest level yet at 45%.

Driven primarily by wind and solar power, 80% of this growth is concentrated in China, the European Union, the USA and Japan. It is linked to the falling cost of generating power using photovoltaic and onshore wind technology. It also signals a response to the imperatives of energy security and sustainable development. The challenge going forward will be the global deployment of renewables, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than half of the population still has no access to electricity.

Stronger commitments required to achieve the 2°C target

  • Despite the CO2 emissions plateau achieved in 2014 - the majority of which was the result of the slowdown seen in energy consumption - emissions have risen considerably in recent decades: the increase seen since 2000 is 36%.
  • In its fifth report published at the end of 2014, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) made clear the direct responsibility of nation states to address the emergency posed by climate change in the run-up to COP21.
  • Without greater willingness to implement an effective policy, global CO2 emissions are likely to rise by 15% between now and 2035, according to the benchmark scenario prepared by the International Energy Agency, which factors in the national emissions reduction targets announced for COP21. The use of coal, especially in response to the enormous demand for electricity from emerging countries, is one of the key factors that will determine the future trend in CO2 emissions.

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