In this article, we will be taking a look at the energy consumption per capita by country: top 20. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the energy consumption per capita by country: top 5.
Energy supplies are essential to economic growth, be it a developing economy or a developed economy, required to power not just homes but businesses as well, and improve the standard of living. However, it is also one of the most hotly debated topics out there, initially because of its contribution to climate change, and secondly, due to the impact on energy prices because of Russia's war with Ukraine.
Currently, most of the global energy is produced through fossil fuels, which is really dangerous for the environment. While the dangers of climate change have been mentioned by scientists for decades, they haven't been taken very seriously since the impact was expected in the future. However, nowadays, we can see the impact of climate change on countries across the world, which is why it is one of the biggest global threats of 2023. Global energy use, according to the International Energy Agency, has increased 13-fold since the 1900 while is expected to jump 30% more by 2040. This is why decarbonization of the global energy system is essential to prevent a further global temperature increase of around 2°C, which is in line with what 194 parties have agreed to in the Paris Agreement. This is despite the fact that around a billion people still don't have access to electricity. This is why the most advanced countries in renewable energies are investing so heavily in alternate sources of energy, with some of the biggest companies in this space including Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENPH).
Photo by Frédéric Paulussen on Unsplash
Another major crisis including energy is the Russian-Ukraine war, which resulted in Western sanctions on Russia. In response, Russia limited supply of oil, especially to European nations, significantly driving up energy prices causing hardship to millions of people across Europe. These higher prices resulted in energy companies including BP p.l.c. (NYSE:BP), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Shell plc (NYSE:SHEL) posting profits never seen before in their century-plus history. To ensure that corporations don't benefit too much from these extra earnings, the European Union imposed a windfall tax on these companies, which has resulted in a case being filed by Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) contesting this tax, stating that investment in Europe would be negatively impacted by this decision.
While the European energy crisis seems to be in a better stage as compared to its peak in December 2022, the disruptions because of the global energy shortages are likely to have a lasting impact, with BP p.l.c.'s (NYSE:BP) 2023 edition of Energy Outlook reminding everyone that while decarbonization of the energy industry is necessary and important, it is important to remember that sustainability, affordability and security are all integral to a successful transition to clean energy. With no end in sight to the war, the ramifications on the energy industry are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, which is especially important for the countries with the highest energy consumption by capita.
Even though the aforementioned Paris Agreement resulted in higher ambitions by most governments to decrease emissions, carbon dioxide emissios have increased every year since, except for 2020, though that was simply because of pandemic-induced global lockdowns rather than a proper conversion to clean energy. While government support for a transition to clean energy, both directly and indirectly, has increased in most countries, the results haven't been as immediate as hoped, due to the massive scale of the decarbonization challenge. An interesting aspect that the Energy Outlook report mentions is the decline of oil demand over the outlook period, due to a decrease in road transport because of improving efficiencies in vehicles as well as the increasing electrification of road vehicles. However, a declining demand doesn't mean that oil is no longer important; it will still play a major role at least in the next two decades.
To determine the countries with the highest energy consumption per capita, we referred data from the World Bank, based on kg of oil equivalent per capita by country. Unfortunately, the latest data is available for most countries in 2014, while some countries had data in 2015. So, let's now take a look at the countries which consume the most energy and are likely to be the most impacted countries by the current global scenario and geopolitical tensions, starting with:
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 5,103
In 2012, Sweden reached the government's target of 50% of energy production being through renewable sources while the power sector's target is 100% production of electricity through renewable energy means.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 5,122
Utility Bidder, an energy tariff comparison platform, showed that Singapore is the country that relies the most on fossil fuels, with 98% of its energy supply coming form fossil fuels.
18. South Korea
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 5,413
Insufficient local resources have resulted in South Korea importing most of its energy requirements and is among the biggest imports of LNG and coal in the world.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 5,484
Australia is one of the biggest mining countries in the world, an industry which is extremely energy intensive.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 5,818
Electricity is widely used in Norway and because of brutally cold winters, a higher level of energy consumption is needed to heat buildings and water in various parts of the country.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 5,925
Finland's energy-intensive industry and cold climate, not to mention its high standard of living, contribute to it being one of the countries with the highest consumption per capita.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 6,040
A report from the US Energy Information Administration in 2012 showed that Gibraltar had the highest per capita emissions in the world. In 2019, the country built a new power station at the North Mole which will run long term on natural gas.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 6,068
Energy-intensive industrial production explains why Oman is so energy intensive, with the country working on developing gas production to counter oil depletion.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 6,548
It has a population of less than a million people, which is perhaps one of the reasons why it has one of the highest energy consumption by capita countries. Strong population and economic growth between 2008 and 2018 has led to higher energy consumption, even though its government has adopted a goal for a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
11. Saudi Arabia
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 6,646
Saudi Arabia's vast oil reserves have made it relevant in global politics, and with a high population and a diversifying, growing economy, energy consumption has continued to increase as well.
10. United States of America
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 6,804
U.S. energy consumption is dominated by petroleum and natural gas, which make up nearly 70% of total energy consumption in the country. 12% of all energy consumed in the country is through renewable energy.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 7,631
Canada is home to some really energy intensive industries including mining, oil and gas extraction, and major manufacturing sectors. Further, Canada has some of the fiercest winters in the world, which is why it requires more energy for heating, both for industries and domestic consumption.
8. United Arab Emirates
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 7,976
The United Arab Emirates converted from a desert country to a glitzy, glamorous nation in just a few decades after the discovery of oil changed the country's fortunes. Considering the source of the nation's fortune, it is unsurprising that UAE is among the highest energy consumption per capita countries in the world. As is common for most Middle Eastern countries, the weathers is scorching hot most of the year, because of which indoor cooling is required more or less year round.
7. Brunei Darussalam
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 8,530
99.9% of Brunei's energy consumption is through seven gas and one diesel power plants, while between 2010 to 2018, the country's energy demand has increased by 14.3% even as the government begins to take steps towards decarbonization.
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita) in 2014/2015: 9,007
Temperatures in Kuwait in the summer can exceed 55°C in the summer, which has led to a high demand for indoor cooling, which are generally quite energy intensive. Around 70% of the total domestic energy consumption in the country is because of indoor cooling.
Click to continue reading and see the energy consumption per capita by country: Top 5.
Disclosure: None. Energy consumption per capita by country: Top 20 is originally published at Insider Monkey.