The understanding of potential and kinetic energy has given humans the ability to create and harness heat, motion, electricity, and light. Potential energy is the energy a physical body has due to its relative position to another object or its inherent composition. Relevant within the energy industry are potential energy sources such as wood, coal, or natural gas. Kinetic energy is the energy released during motion such as wind or steam and is exploited by the power sector through the installation of electricity generating turbines.

Energy sources are categorized into renewables and non-renewables, depending on the timespan needed for them to be formed. Wood was the first fuel type utilized by humans. These fuels serve as primary energy sources as they may be further manipulated into secondary energy, such as gasoline and electricity. Subsidies and climate conscious policies have seen the share of renewables in worldwide electricity production grow to over 25 percent.

Main primary energy source worldwide
Global renewable power generation share (incl. hydro)
Global electricity generation
26,730 TWh

Market size

China is world's largest energy user
Primary energy consumption worldwide in 2020, by country (in exajoules)
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China is the world's largest consumer of primary energy. As the second leading economy and home to over a billion people, it requires far more fuel to power households and industry than any other country. 2009 - the year following the Great Recession - was the only year in this century that energy consumption declined on a global level. This event is likely to be repeated in 2020, with multiple sectors hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Global energy consumption
Global electricity market
Electricity sector in China

Market segments

Fossil fuels remain leading fuel source
Total primary energy supply worldwide in 2019, by source (in exajoules)
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Fossil fuels are still consumed at a far higher rate than any other fuel source worldwide. Although hydropower stations were the first large-scale power plants to be built in the late 19th century, coal-fired steam engines proved to be the more successful choice. Coal and gas plants have since established themselves as indispensable power sources. Today, thermal power from steam turbines in coal and gas plants continues being the motor for developing economies like China and India.

Global coal energy industry
Global hydropower industry
Energy sector in India

Industry trends

Hydrogen's role in tomorrow's energy sector
Hydrogen production and consumption worldwide in 2019, by sector (in million metric tons)
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In a bid to reduce the world’s carbon footprint, the energy industry is turning towards hydrogen. Today, most hydrogen is produced at natural gas plants. In the coming years, however, green hydrogen won from electrolysis using renewables could dominate the stage. 2021 has already heard some of the largest European utilities and wind turbine manufacturers announcing adjunct offshore projects. Current technologies still make fossil fuel derived hydrogen the more economically viable option.

Global hydrogen production forecast, by type
Global hydrogen production costs
Number of global hydrogen projects announced, by region

Industry leaders

Renewable-focused utilities most profitable
Leading energy and water utility companies based on net income in FY 2020/21* (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Electricity and heating gas are distributed to households and businesses via public utilities. As of 2020, Iberdrola was the most profitable utility in the world, with a net income of over four billion U.S. dollars. The Spain-based company invests heavily in the renewable sector; over half of its installed energy capacity in Europe is sourced from wind, hydro, and solar energy. Meanwhile, one of its competitors, E.ON, was found to be the overall fastest growing brand in Europe.

U.S. electric utilities
Iberdrola's installed capacity
Fastest growing brands, by region

Industry definition

Within this segment Statista provides detailed information for all major energy sources, such as fossil energy, renewables, and nuclear power, with an additional focus on the electricity industry and market. Included are key market indicators, such as production, consumption, and prices, in addition to statistics and reports on the leading utilities and industry players.

More interesting topics from the industry "Energy"


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