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OECD Factbook 2013: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics
branch Energy and Transportation
branch Energy requirement
    branch Electricity generation

The amount of electricity generated by a country, and the breakdown of that production by type of fuel, reflects the natural resources, imported energy, national policies on security of energy supply, population size, electrification rate as well as the stage of development and rate of growth of the economy in each country.

Definition

The table shows data on electricity generation from fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro (excluding pumped storage), geothermal, solar, biofuels, etc. It includes electricity produced in electricity-only plants and in combined heat and power plants. Both main activity producer and autoproducer plants are included, where data are available. Main activity producers generate electricity for sale to third parties as their primary activity. Autoproducers generate electricity wholly or partly for their own use as an activity which supports their primary activity. Both types of plants may be privately or publicly owned.

Electricity generation is measured in terawatt hours, which expresses the generation of 1 terawatt (1012 watts) of electricity for one hour.

Comparability

Some countries have trouble reporting electricity generation from autoproducer plants. In some non-member countries it is also difficult to obtain information on electricity generated by biofuels and waste. 

Overview

World electricity generation rose at an average annual rate of 3.7% from 1971 to 2010, greater than the 2.2% growth in total primary energy supply. This increase was largely due to more electrical appliances, the development of electrical heating in countries and of rural electrification programmes in developing countries.

The share of electricity production from fossil fuels has gradually fallen, from just under 75% in 1971 to 67% in 2010. This decrease was due to a progressive move away from oil, which fell from 20.9% to 4.6%.

Oil for world electricity generation has been displaced in particular by dramatic growth in nuclear electricity generation, which rose from 2.1% in 1971 to 17.7% in 1996. However, the share of nuclear has been falling steadily since then and represented 12.9% in 2010. Global nuclear power will likely be even lower in 2011 following the tsunami in Japan and the resulting Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

Due to large development programmes in several OECD countries, the share of new and renewable energies, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels and waste increased. However, these energy forms remain of limited importance: in 2010, they accounted for only 3.7% of total electricity production for the world as a whole.

 

Sources

Further information
Analytical publications
Online databases
Websites
Indicator in PDF Acrobat PDF page

Table
Electricity generation
    Table in Excel

Figures
World electricity generation by source of energy Figure in Excel
World electricity generation by source of
energy
World electricity generation by source of energy Figure in Excel
World electricity generation by source of
energy