Contribution of BRICS to the global increase in power consumption between 2010 and 2018.
Most of the growth in global electricity consumption occurred in Asia (almost 80%, with China accounting for nearly 60%). Electricity demand in China accelerated against steady economic growth and industrial demand. Demand also increased in India, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.
Electricity consumption in the United States, which dipped by 1% in 2017, recovered in 2018 (+2.2%). Most of this increase came from the residential sector (+6.2%), mainly due to an increased electricity consumption for appliances (representing around half of the electricity consumption) and air-conditioning (nearly 90% of US homes use centralised or house individual air conditioners). Economic growth and industrial demand also raised power consumption in Canada, Brazil and in Russia. It also increased in Africa, especially in Egypt, and in the Middle East, spurred by Iran.
As in 2017, electricity consumption remained stable in Europe in 2018: it declined in France and Germany, stagnated in other large countries (UK, Italy, Spain) and it increased in the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the US coal-fired power capacity fell by around 60 GW between 2011 and 2017 as a result of power plant retirements, which were due to high operating and maintenance costs. Sustained relatively low gas prices have made coal-fired power plants less competitive and less used, reducing revenues and operating margins for their operators, prompting them to retire these coal-fired units. A study led by the EIA highlights that coal-fired power plants with the lowest variable operating and maintenance costs have higher capacity factors (59% in 2017) than the coal fleet average (54%) and than the highest cost group (47%).
According to Japan National Institute for Environmental Studies, the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have declined from 1,291 MtCO2 in the financial year 2017/18 to 1,244 MtCO2 in 2018/19 (-3.6%), which is their lowest level since 1990/91. It was the fifth year in a row of decline, which was mainly driven by the increased use of renewable energies and the restart of nine nuclear reactors. As the world’s fifth-biggest carbon emitter, Japan aims at reducing its GHG emissions by 26% by 2030 (from 2013 levels). The observed decrease stood at 11.8% at the end of 2017/18.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the installed wind power capacity in the United States has reached 100 GW in the third quarter of 2019 (from over 94 GW at the end of 2018), enough to supply power to 32 million US households. Wind installations accelerated in the third quarter of 2019, with 8 new large power projects totalling 1.9 GW commissioned.
According to the annual report on the functioning of the European carbon market, greenhouse gras (GHG) emissions from installations covered by the EU ETS decreased by 4.1% (around 73 MtCO2eq) to 1,682 MtCO2eq in 2018, thanks to a 7.3% drop in emissions from the power and heat production sector (down to 913 MtCO2eq). Verified emissions from the industrial sector remained stable (-0.1%) at 769 MtCO2eq, while those from aviation grew by 3.9% to 67 MtCO2eq.