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A new edition of “A World of Energy” by ENGIE: key information on the global energy context

What changes occurred to energy production and consumption around the world in 2017? Has progress been made with regard to energy efficiency and pollution? In “A World of Energy 2017, ENGIE analyzes the energy environment of yesterday and today, and tries to identify the trends of tomorrow.

The new edition of “A World of Energy” takes stock of recent developments in the energy context and identifies the trends of tomorrow.

>> Check out “A World of Energy”

Global growth and energy efficiency

2017 saw a dynamic global economic growth of 3% thanks to the recovery of the majority of economies. This growth should be maintained in the coming years according to the World Bank, which forecasts 3.1% growth in 2018 and 3% in 2019.

The second piece of good news is that the progress made in energy efficiency – which is improving by approximately 1% per year – is tending to reduce the correlation whereby economic growth entails increased energy demand. However, the progress made is not enough to limit the global temperature rise to 2°C; it would require an annual improvement of 3.2% in energy efficiency to meet this target.

Energy production and consumption, sector by sector

Following a period of oversupply, global energy production gradually readjusted in 2017 to stem a fall in prices. Meanwhile, world energy consumption has seen only slight growth in the last three years, and it is expected to grow approximately 1% in 2017. The various sectors have been analyzed in detail to give a clearer picture of these changes:

  • The global production of electricity has grown at the very moderate rate of about 2% annually in recent years. One quarter of production is now generated from renewable energy sources. These account for two-thirds of additional capacities in 2016 and 2017.
  • ENGIE believes that the production of natural gas could grow at a rate of 1.4% in 2017, twice as fast as in 2016, and that gas consumption could follow this trend. Meanwhile, prices have recovered thanks to a tighter balance of supply and demand. There should also be an increase in gas trading, in particular a 25% rise in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
  • The global consumption of oil probably rose 1.4% in 2017. Following a period of overproduction, the oil market stabilized again towards the end of the year thanks to tighter OPEC quotas, which led to a higher cost per barrel.
  • An upturn in demand for coal began in 2017. ENGIE believes that a 1% rise in annual production is explained by the cancelation or suspension of certain projects that would have maintained the decline noted in 2016.

CO2 emissions and carbon regulations

After falling for three years consecutively, CO2 missions – which account for 78% of greenhouse gas emissions – rose 2% in 2017. China and other developing countries are the biggest emitters of CO2. The energy sector produces 46% of global CO2, followed by industry (23%), transport (20.5%) and the residential and service sectors plus agriculture (10.5%). The rate of growth in CO2 emissions has nonetheless been halved since 2000, and the long-term trend is downward.

Although progress has been made, pollution still kills approximately nine million people per year, according to the WHO, accounting for 16% of annual deaths, and the trend for global warming is continuing. 2017 was the third hottest year ever, after 2015 and 2016.

To halt this phenomenon, more and more countries are introducing carbon markets. In 2017, 43 national jurisdictions and at least 25 local jurisdictions set a carbon price, although at this stage it is often too low to be genuinely effective. Some countries have also introduced a carbon tax, the highest levels of taxation being in Europe.

Focus on France: economic vitality and energy transition

The French economy enjoyed growth of 2% in 2017, higher than forecast, which was the highest rate of growth since 2011. Primary energy production fell by 1.7%, however, as a result of numerous maintenance and inspection procedures in nuclear power plants, which led to a 1.3% decline in nuclear production. Primary energy consumption remained virtually stable; natural gas consumption continued to increase, while oil and coal consumption continued to decline.

In 2017, France made a strong commitment in favor of energy transition with the presentation of a climate plan by the French ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, which calls for changes in the French energy mix that will achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the banning of sales of petrol cars by 2040, and the elimination of “energy sinks” in ten years. A total budget of €20 billion has been allocated to driving forward the energy transition during the French President’s five-year mandate.

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