Fossil Fuels Maintain Grip on Energy Sector Despite Renewables’ Surge in 2022

The industry’s Statistical Review of World Energy report revealed that despite record renewable energy growth, the world’s energy consumption increased by 1% last year and that fossil fuels, which still accounted for 82% of supply, continued to dominate.

The Energy Institute, in partnership with the consulting firms KPMG and Kearny, took over the annual report from BP (BP.L), which had been producing it since the 1950s, and released it for the first time as a standard for the sector.

Despite the highest ever increase in renewables capacity at a combined 266 gigawatts, with solar power growth leading wind power development, the tenacious lead of oil, gas, and coal products in meeting the majority of energy demand solidified itself in 2022, according to the report.

Juliet Davenport, head of the UK-based worldwide industry group Energy Institute, noted that despite continued great growth in wind and solar in the power sector, overall global emissions of greenhouse gases related to energy rose once more.

In 2022, global primary energy demand experienced a modest growth rate of around 1%, which marked a significant slowdown compared to the previous year’s growth of 5.5%. Despite this slowdown, the demand still remained approximately 3% higher than the pre-pandemic levels recorded in 2019. Notably, energy consumption increased in all regions worldwide, with the exception of Europe, including Eastern Europe.

Renewable energy sources, excluding hydropower, made a notable advancement, accounting for approximately 7.5% of global energy consumption. This marked a 1% increase compared to the previous year, indicating a positive trend towards cleaner energy alternatives. However, fossil fuels continued to dominate the global energy landscape, maintaining their significant share at 82% of total energy consumption.

In terms of electricity generation, there was a 2.3% increase overall. Wind and solar power emerged as standout performers, achieving a record 12% share in power generation. This surpassed the declining nuclear energy sector, which experienced a decrease of 4.4%. Wind and solar power combined successfully met 84% of the net electricity demand growth.

Global energy-related emissions, encompassing industrial processes and flaring, experienced a 0.8% increase, reaching an unprecedented peak of 39.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This alarming surge underscores the pressing need for intensified efforts in combatting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite efforts to transition towards cleaner energy sources, coal retained its stronghold in power generation, accounting for a substantial share of approximately 35.4%. This indicates that coal continues to play a significant role in meeting global power needs, presenting challenges for reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable energy practices.

Overall, the data from 2022 highlights the ongoing dominance of fossil fuels in the global energy sector, while also showcasing the growing significance of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. The persistence of coal in power generation poses an obstacle to achieving a greener and more sustainable energy future.


Reuters. 2023. Renewables growth did not dent fossil fuel dominance in 2022, report says. Retrieved from

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