Global energy is a touchy subject. What forms of energy are reliable?? Who consumes the most energy? Where does energy come from? These six charts (we hope) will give you a clearer picture of global energy distribution and consumption.

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Total Renewable Power Generation by Source

Wind & solar dominates the headlines, but hydropower provides the most renewable energy, and it’s not even close.

Hydroelectric power comes from the natural flow of moving water — think of the Hoover Dam or Niagra Falls.

According to the US Energy Department, hydropower accounts for a whopping 31.5% of total renewable electricity generation and 6.3% of total US electricity generation.

Total Renewable Power Generation by Mode of Generation

Tidal energy is the leading method of generating renewable power in the United States. Tidal energy is produced by the surge of ocean waters during the rise and fall of tides.

Other energy sources like wind are less reliable due to their intermittent activity.

Global Energy Consumption Over the Past 30 Years (by country)

global energy consumption over the past 30 years (by country)

China and the United States consume the most energy in the world by far, with other countries like Russia and India making small dents.

If the US and China transformed their energy consumption, it would have astronomical effects on anthropogenic climate change.

Global Energy Consumption Over the Past 30 Years (by region)

global energy consumption over the past 30 years

Asia consumed more energy in the last 30 years than any other continent, nearly doubling North America’s output.

Experts are concerned that as emerging markets in Latin America and Africa become more industrialized and populated, their energy demands will spike and pressure energy markets beyond capacity.

Global Energy Consumption Over Time

global energy consumption over time

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa saw a significant increase in energy consumption through the first two decades of the 21st century.

North American energy consumption has remained rather stagnant.

Overall, the world saw a rough 60% increase in energy consumption.

Top 10 Countries by Energy Consumption Over Time

There is a clear outlier on this chart. China’s energy consumption far outpaces the rest of the world. Most notably, except for India, all other countries maintain stable energy consumption levels.

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