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Power-hungry nations

91% of the Earth’s electricity is used by just 20 countries

New research by GoCompare Energy has highlighted the disparity in electricity usage by countries across the globe.

There are 196 countries in the world, but 91% of the Earth’s total electricity consumption is used by just 20.

China alone uses almost a quarter (24%) of the total electricity output, making it the single largest consumer in the world. The United States comes in second with 19% of the total electricity consumption, using more than three times that of third placed India (5%).

Top 5 electricity users

The top five consumers of the world’s electricity are:

1. China
4,921 Twh
(24% of global electricity consumption)

2. United States
3,848 Twi
(19% of global electricity consumption)

3. India
1,027 Twh
(5% of global electricity consumption)

4. Japan
921 Twh
(5% of global electricity consumption)

5. Russia
870 Twh
(4% of global electricity consumption)

UK in 11th place

While China is the worst culprit for overall electricity consumption, Taiwan takes first place for the country which uses the most electricity per square kilometre: 31 times more for its land area when compared with the rest of the top 20 countries.

The UK is the world’s 11th biggest consumer of electricity, with over a quarter (26%) of usage coming from renewable sources. Relative to other countries in the top 20 consumers of electricity, the 312Twh used by the United Kingdom is six times more per square kilometre – that’s the fourth highest out of the 20 biggest consumers.

To put this into perspective, Energy has created a map (see right) to highlight what the world map would look like if it were based on how much electricity the top 20 countries use relative to their size.

Balance of power

How much power is green?

The research also shows how green each country is; out of the top 20 consumers, Brazil leads the way with nearly three-quarters (74%) of its electricity coming from renewable sources, followed closely by Canada (63%).

Saudi Arabia, the 14th biggest consumer of electricity, does not use any electricity from a renewable source. South Korea is the second biggest culprit, with just 2% of the electricity it uses being renewable.

‘Seeing the stark difference between actual country size and country size if based on electrical consumption is definitely eye opening. Of course, some can be put down to the area of land which is actually populated, such as Australia, but others can be attributed to the predominant industry within that country, such as Taiwan’s reliance on heavy industry including crude oil processing.’

GoCompare Energy Energy also looked at the electricity consumed per capita; it found the worst culprit for electricity usage for its population size is Canada, followed by the US, Taiwan, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

Click here to find out what measures are being used across the globe to improve renewable energy usage.

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