Where Does The World’s Total Energy Supply Come From?

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Last weekend I was catching up on some reading and was checking out the December 2007 edition of the magazine Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development and I ca…what’s that you say? Do I normally spend my weekends reading policy magazines on energy? Um, ahh…yea, I do. Ask my wife, it drives her crazy that I cannot even remember the last fiction novel that I read. But I guess that is why I have something to write here every day! Now, what was I saying…

Oh, right, what I came across in the magazine. It was an article on the world’s energy sources and how we are gobbling up all the resources faster than we can either dig for more and/or come up with alternatives. But this graph I saw was especially interesting, as it shows exactly what percentages of our energy came from different sources as of 2004:


In case you cannot clearly see the numbers, this is how it breaks down-

  • Oil 35.03%
  • Coal 24.59%
  • Gas 20.44%
  • Renewables 13.61%, including:
    Traditional Biomass 8.48%
    Modern Biomass 1.91%
    Geothermal .23%
    Wind .32%
    Solar .53%
    Small Hydro .41%
    Hydro, other 1.73%

That is pretty bad…only .23% from geothermal? Only .53% from the sun? Granted, the likes of solar photovoltaic has had a growth rate of 40% since 2001, but still…we gotta get on the ball and invest the kind of money that needs to be invested to get all these renewables up to snuff and taking on bigger percentages. That is, if we want to have any kind of a bright future for our grandkids! (Well, mine anyway – I am 35 and don’t even have kids yet!).

So you see, that is the kind of thing that catches my eye on the weekend. Maybe I need to get out more? Honey?

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  1. That .53% from solar is likely mostly from non-photovoltic sources. My guess is solar heating and daylighting (depending on how they count), since wind power (.32%) penetration is vastly larger than solar electricity… so it’s even worse than you thought for PV.

    As for getting a life, I hear that it’s vastly overrated.

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