Energy Use 2020 to 2021

By Andy May

We now have another year of energy consumption data, what does it tell us? The graph from is shown below:

Energy use is going up. Are we transitioning to renewables? Do renewables matter? See the change from 2020 to 2021 below:

Total global energy use increased 8,650 TeraWatt-hours in 2021 and 83% of the increase was supplied by fossil fuels! Only 14% of the increase was supplied by renewables, with an additional 3% by nuclear.

But, what about total energy consumed in 2021? It was 176,431 TeraWatt-hours, 77% fossil fuels and 13% renewable, excluding nuclear. Sounds impressive until you realize that 83% of the added energy consumption in 2021 was supplied by fossil fuels, which means renewables are losing ground and fossil fuels are gaining. Sorry environmentalists, your goal is moving away from you

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January 5, 2023 11:09 pm

Sorry environmentalists, your goal is moving away from you

Good article, but the 3% loss in hydro due to overutilization, and the 6% increase in coal are tragic, environmentalist or not.

Last edited 23 days ago by dk_
Reply to  dk_
January 5, 2023 11:38 pm

For who (or is it whom?) is the 6% increase in coal tragic?
I personally count it as a win. For humanity.

Reply to  Frankemann
January 6, 2023 2:39 am

Probably just another one that knows so little about it that he/she thinks that cooling towers are smoke stacks and that the steam they emit is polluting smoke.

Bryan A
Reply to  rah
January 6, 2023 5:09 am

Looks like we reached Peak Biomass back in 2000

Reply to  Bryan A
January 6, 2023 7:32 am

Well, I’m doing my part today. A dusting of snow on the roofs here at my central Indiana home and a fire in my fireplace insert.

Reply to  Frankemann
January 6, 2023 6:06 am

The subject of this piece was 2021 vs 2020. The Ukraine war hadn’t been fomented by our bediapered and befuddled bribe seeker yet, but he had effectively started the CNG shortage, and this coal increase was mostly China picking up post tariff production. Little of it was in Africa, where they should still use coal instead of shipping it out.

Over production of hydro electricity was already taking place in the Western U.S. to make up for mostly Californian increased reliance on intermittent wind and solar (and less on gas), and because of mismanagement of their own water resources.

The 6% increase in coal use for electrical production in 2021 should have been in nuclear and natural gas.

Last edited 23 days ago by dk_
Reply to  dk_
January 6, 2023 6:17 am

Could have, should have, would have – Well, maybe. The increase in coal tells me it is a source easily ramped up. Waiting a decade for nuclear, freezing in the dark is not a good option. Coal has been a blessing. Again.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  dk_
January 6, 2023 7:24 am

There is nothing wrong with using coal with modern pollution controls.

And since you can’t stockpile gas, it is more vulnerable to supply disruptions than coal, which can easily be stockpiled.

Nothing wrong with nuclear power, but there’s nothing wrong with coal either.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  dk_
January 6, 2023 7:19 am

Nothing tragic about using coal. With modern pollution controls, there is little pollution and it provides excellent baseboard electric generation. And unlike natural gas, it can be stockpiled to counter supply disruptions.

Reply to  dk_
January 6, 2023 9:26 am

Nothing tragic about coal use.

Scarecrow Repair
January 5, 2023 11:40 pm

That’s excellent news to the die-hard activists and political cronies, since it means they need that much more funding.

Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
January 6, 2023 12:04 am

This is old news really, given the strong rise in fossil fuel energy globally in 2022, partially due to higher energy prices and the Ukrainian war. So, the transition to renewables is accelerating backwards, particularly in the EU, economic sanity or rationality is being forced on the globalists, and hopefully some more climate sanity will eventuate, and the public realises that global cooling is now a real possibility after 5 years of reduced satellite temperatures following the 2016 El Nino warming.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  bobclose
January 6, 2023 7:30 am

There is no “transition to renewables.”

There will never be a “transition to renewables.”

You cannot “transition” from 24/7 reliable, consistent power generation to “if the wind blows at the right speed/if the Sun is shining” and expect to power modern civilization with it.

The only “transition” they will succeed in creating with their war on fossil fuels is from modern civilization to the Stone Age, which is exactly where human civilization will be without fossil fuels.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
January 6, 2023 9:58 am

Which is exactly what they want. Ignorant, suffering stone age people are easier to control

Ron Long
Reply to  Scarecrow Repair
January 6, 2023 1:52 am

Those “…die-hard activists…” are not environmentalists, they are extortionists. Those “…political cronies…” are corrupt extortionists. Follow the money.

Last edited 23 days ago by Ron Long
January 6, 2023 12:03 am

No one mentioned how much of this (EXTRA) consumption was used for the Production of Wind & solar stations, and of course all the other Green paraphernalia ( Batteries and EVs) .

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  saighdear
January 6, 2023 7:31 am


Last edited 23 days ago by AGW is Not Science
Javier Vinós
January 6, 2023 12:27 am

The 2020-2021 changes took place under special circumstances due to the pandemic. The biggest increase was in oil because the biggest 2019-2020 decrease was in oil, to the point of driving a negative price in oil futures at some point.

A 2019 to 2021 comparison would result in different conclusions.

January 6, 2023 12:34 am

Just to make matters worse turbines lose ~3% efficiency each year on average

A 5 year old turbine has already lost 15%

That goes under the radar

January 6, 2023 1:15 am

Andy Espersen :
Last year John Constable (of Global Warming Policy Foundation) and Debra Lieberman wrote a paper about global consumption of energy by source – they came up with different graphs altogether. .
Here is an excerpt from their article : “According to data collected by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, total energy consumption in the UK, for example, is back at levels not seen since the 1950s; there has been a 30 percent decline from its peak in 2003, which is astonishing given that the population has increased by 12.5 percent, to 67 million, over the same period.” 
There must be a reason for this difference – but I am not brainy enough to work out what that reason is. It must be that energy use somehow can be measured with different yardsticks.

Bill Toland
Reply to  andersjoan
January 6, 2023 2:28 am

Energy consumption has fallen in the UK because we have exported almost all of our heavy industry. Britain used to be the workshop of the world. Now Britain is mostly a services economy with little manufacturing left.

Last edited 23 days ago by Bill Toland
January 6, 2023 1:53 am

From the BBC wind second only to gas.

Reply to  JohnC
January 6, 2023 5:14 am

Don’t go to the BBC for science & Engineering facts and truth – you’ll never find it

January 6, 2023 2:43 am

Why was traditional Bio fuels put at the bottom of the graph when that category is supplying less of the base load than the three major fossil fuels?

Matt Kiro
Reply to  rah
January 6, 2023 3:19 am

I always thought it was because it is the oldest fuel and as other fuels became commonly used they were added on top. It was a way to show how we never stop using fuels, humans just add new ones to what we already used.

Reply to  Matt Kiro
January 6, 2023 5:10 am

That makes sense. Also, it’s consumption is relatively flat, whereas others are mostly growing. So, it also makes sense aesthetically to use it as a “baseline.”

January 6, 2023 5:12 am

This is no surprise to those of us who have spent 40+ years in the energy sector – no matter how much the virtue signalling, often beneficiaries of the nut zero renewables con try to deceive the masses that fossil fuels are evil and the only way to save planet earth for our children’s children, Engineering & science reality, truth & fact expose their ridiculous narratives

Fossil fuels are natures fuels, the atmosphere is in significant CO2 deficit for optimum plant & crop growth and no matter how many wind & solar farms you fleece the public finances with, they ain’t going to keep the lights on

January 6, 2023 6:06 am

With China, India, and other developing countries hungry for cheap energy, is there any doubt that fossil fuels will continue to dominate? I think not.
The problem will be getting them to foot the bill for the proper pollution controls for the coal fired plants as we have had here for decades.

Last edited 23 days ago by rah
Reply to  rah
January 6, 2023 6:16 am

China, India, and other developing countries…”

That’s a lot of idiot children in search of machine-gun energy…

Reply to  strativarius
January 6, 2023 6:54 am

I really do not fault them on the issue of energy. They are in fact improving the conditions that their massive populations live in. And as for pollution, it is a simple fact that as a society progresses the per capita pollution declines considerably. Though countries with authoritarian governments virtually always are the worst polluters even when more developed. The Soviet Union and Warsaw pact were terrible, and though Russia is somewhat better now, it is still doing stuff that one would never get away with in other developed nations.

But pollution in say a place like Liberia is the least of their problems. Or at least they think it is. When I was there in 83 we had to put CS powder on our garbage burnout pit because if we did not the local women would be rummaging in it and our medical waste was in that pit too.

Reply to  rah
January 6, 2023 9:33 am

Russia is still thoroughly authoritarian.

January 6, 2023 6:24 am

During the civil war, and especially after the Emancipation Proclamation, Grant had a problem. What to do with all the “Contraband” slaves, or IOW those slaves that had ended up within Federal lines.

He could employ some of the men as teamsters and such but not nearly all of them, and what to do with those he could not employ and the women and children?

His solution was employ the rest of the men cutting wood for the steamers that plied the Mississippi and other rivers. The men doing the work were not paid directly but instead the revenue made from selling the wood as put into a common fund that provided shelter, schools, hospitals, and even churches for all of the “contrabands”.

As the war went on enlistments of blacks also helped alleviate the problem also.

Many disparage Grant as a bull headed fool that really did not know much about the art and science of war but only won due to overwhelming numbers.

This is a false impression. The man was a logistical genius. His Vicksburg campaign would never have been conducted by any other Union General. Even his friend Sherman strongly advised against Grant cutting away from his base of supplies and living off the land, only taking with him “small rations” such as coffee, sugar, and salt, and the ammunition he judged he would need. Even tentage was limited.

Of course later based on the experience of the Vicksburg campaign, and having great difficulty keeping the RR from Chatanooga to Atlanta in operation due to raids by the Confederates, Sherman of course adopted the same modus operandi in his march to the sea.

Last edited 23 days ago by rah
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  rah
January 6, 2023 9:27 am

‘…Sherman of course adopted the same modus operandi in his march to the sea.’

No doubt spurred on by his wife…

Last edited 23 days ago by Frank from NoVA
Reply to  rah
January 6, 2023 11:06 am

Very interesting comment. If anyone else is also interested, I found this page with more detailed information on Grant’s supply lines :

Reply to  JoeF
January 6, 2023 12:41 pm

Grant was cut off from his supply earlier when he was taking Jackson. It was only later, after Champion hill, he got limited supplies. Before that Pemberton had forces between him and Grand Gulf along with very heavy guerilla activity.

Only when Grant had Pemberton sewn up back in Vicksburg did he again establish an adequate base of supply.

Upon arrival at the Confederate lines of defense Grant was checking out the disposition of his troops personally. A soldier near him in a low voice said “Hardtack”, it was heard and up and down the line the soldiers started yelling “Hardtack, Hardtack”. Grant assured them that it was coming via a new base of supply originating at the Yazoo River.

His base of supply had to be substantial then because even that moron Halleck knew he had to be reinforced, not only to maintain the siege at Vicksburg but to protect his rear. So Grant actually had to maintain two lines during the siege.

January 6, 2023 7:16 am

The take home message is desite all the crowing we read in the main stream and actitvist press, “renewables” (wind, solar, biolfuels and “others”) make up almost nothing of our overall energy supply. Not even as much as “Traditional Biomass” — meaning burning wood, twigs, sticks, grasses and dried dung.

In regardless of their negligible penetration, they are already causing problems.

January 6, 2023 9:13 am

Any news that upsets the yogurt knitters, is good news.

Last edited 23 days ago by Jackdaw
January 7, 2023 4:09 am

Great article Andy. Do we have the data for 2022?

January 7, 2023 8:20 am

I think this data brings to light an important troubling “side effect” of the “stop climate change” mantra. The side effect is that trying to “stop climate change” by emitting CO2 is consuming huge amounts of resources, financial, physical and human – thus causing more important matters to be ignored. Matters that I think deserve a lot of public discussion and even experimentation (no, not policy to “fix” things) are:

  1. If we assume fossil fuel supply is limited, even if we have a lot of time, there are things for which we use fossil fuels which are very important to how we live. Therefore it is worth thinking about how to “live well” with less fossil fuel use to extend how long we have fossil fuels for all these other uses. I recall from the 1958 Disney science program “Our Friend the Atom” (still the best primer on atomic chemistry and nuclear energy I know of) the argument that using nuclear for electricity would preserve fossil fuels for plastics, chemicals, etc.
  2. It is simple math that says that even 2% year to year energy use growth is a 7x expansion in just a century, 52 times in 2 centuries etc. There are clear problems with this. Again, I think there is good reason to talk about, invent, experiment on how to “live well” using less per capita energy. Not to “fix energy growth” but because devoting thought and research to this is wise for the long term. There are, of course, short term benefits to living well with less energy per capita including less toxic pollution and lower cost living (if done right).

I want to emphasize that I am not suggesting government policy to force “using less”, but only that the “stop climate change” insanity is keeping us from considering what in real life are more important questions.

(Also, I think there are other really important questions being shuffled to the back burner due to the crazed climate issue sucking resources and attention, but they aren’t related to energy use.)

January 7, 2023 9:52 am

The COVID dip didn’t put a dent in atmospheric CO2. Funny how that works.

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