World energy consumption 1800-2000: the results

Consommation mondiale d’énergie 1800-2000 : les résultats

Especially since the awareness of the dangers of climate change, future energy consumption is the subject of many scenarios. To what extent can its growth be contained? What downward trajectory changes are still realistic? Knowing what happened in the past helps to answer this question.


The definitions of energy consumption adopted (See: World Energy Consumption 1800-2000: Definitions and Measurements) and the sources of information inventoried (See: World Energy Consumption 1800-2000: Sources of Information) make it possible to construct chronicles of the past two centuries during which the average annual growth of the world population (1.0%) was largely exceeded by that of energy resource consumption (1.7%). The overall trajectory of the latter obviously masks considerable differences in time and space. Already noticeable before 1800 (Read: World energy consumption before the industrial era), they are widening between the major regions of the world under the effect of the economic upheavals linked to the successive industrial revolutions that brought new energy sources[1]

Understanding this dynamic requires a careful, and therefore critical, examination of the evolution of the consumption of each energy source, region by region. In order not to make the article too long, the chronicles will only be presented in decennial steps, even though they have been reconstituted on an annual basis.
 

1. Evolution of world consumption

How has the consumption of the major primary energy sources evolved since 1800? What part have the major regions of the world played in this evolution?

1.1. World consumption by primary energy source

The adoption of decadal steps and counting in million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) introduces some bias (Table 1): natural gas only appears in 1890, whereas 75 toe appear in the statistical series as early as 1882 and this fuel was used locally as early as the first half of the 19th century; hydroelectricity, and even more so water power (water mills), are much earlier than the 1 Mtoe that the table shows in 1910; in a series presented at the Geneva Conference (1955), the United Nations counted 6 billion kWh in 1860, i.e., 0.5 Mtoe, and 34 in 1910, i.e., 2.9 Mtoe[2].

 

Table 1: World consumption by energy source (Mtoe)

Years Coal Oil Natural Gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 7 298 305
1810 9 323 332
1820 12 352 364
1830 17 375 391
1840 28 403 431
1850 45 438 483
1860 82 459 541
1870 131 1 476 607
1880 207 3 518 728
1890 309 10 5 555 880
1900 480 25 5 581 1092
1910 731 53 11 1 599 1395
1920 712 91 19 4 589 1415
1930 816 207 46 10 576 1655
1940 898 292 67 17 558 1833
1950 925 505 153 29 545 2158
1960 1252 1030 374 59 608 3323
1970 1387 2237 815 107 643 5189
1980 1748 3010 1158 211 789 6916
1990 2146 3135 1618 364 938 8200
2000 2116 3542 2026 465 1096 9242

Note. It should be remembered that primary electricity is counted in Mtoe on the basis of its consumption equivalence, which divides its share in total energy consumption by 2.5 compared to its production equivalence.

 

What does a comparison of the above series with those of other authors[3] teach?

Total consumption, all sources combined, is almost identical in 1950 (2,158 Mtoe) with that of P. Putnam (2,222) and that of Woitinsky (2,148), which are the terminal years. From 1960 onwards, a comparison with the data of the World Energy Conference (WEC) and then of the World Energy Council (WEC) reveals an almost identical starting point (3,323 Mtoe) (3,306) and then an increasing divergence (10,714 instead of 9,242 in 2000), which can be largely explained by different choices of thermal equivalence for primary electricity The WEC biomass consumption by traditional means (930 Mtoe) in 1990 confirms the above assessment (938) obtained by other methods. For the 19th century, only Palmer Putnam’s series is available: it differs significantly from the one in the table, in 1860, for reasons related to the limitations of this author’s assessments (See: World Energy Consumption 1800-2000: Sources of Information). Generally speaking, the validity of this biomass series can only be assessed after examining the various regional series of which it is the sum.

If we limit ourselves to commercial sources, a greater number of comparisons is conceivable, since on a global scale, with certain reservations, consumption differs little from production. Therefore, series such as those of Bouda Etemad and Jean Luciani or those of the United Nations (Geneva Conference) can be used. In addition, the data of Joël Darmstadter are excellent references for the years between the two wars. The following can be noted:

  • the evolution of the consumption of the commercial sources shown in Table 1 is always lower than the world production of the same sources over the whole period studied, which is expected;
  • the difference is less than 7%, usually between 3 and 5%, in 1800 and then throughout the 20th century, for reasons related to the choice of equivalence coefficients for primary electricity[4];
  • it can also be explained by an imperfect treatment of consumption attributable to bunkers, including those of ships, which are excluded from national consumption in the United Nations statistics[5];
  • on the other hand, the larger discrepancies in coal consumption in the 19th century, especially between 1830 and 1850, draw attention to the gaps in the information on English coal exports at that time, which are not all found in the form of imports from the various regions of the world: corrections will have to be made to the latter, especially in Asia, Oceania and Latin America

Under the reservations due to these statistical imprecisions, especially for the consumption of biomass, some major features emerge from the evolution traced above.

Biomass, mainly in the form of wood burned by households for cooking and heating in cold or temperate regions, as well as by crafts and industry, was the most widely used primary energy source throughout the 19th century: more than 90% of total consumption until 1843, more than 80% until 1866, before an average decline of 10 percentage points per decade, until 1903, when it fell below 50% to the benefit of mineral coal and the first liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons to be included in the energy balance.

The decline continued thereafter, but at a much slower pace and in stages: 40% in the 1910s, due to the First World War in Europe, then 35% between 1927 and 1935, due to the crisis in the Western economies. After the Second World War, biomass resumed its relative decline to a low of 11%, which has been unchanging since 1971 because of the consumption of fuelwood by a growing rural population in Latin America, Asia and Africa. This drop of almost 90 points does not mean a decrease in the volumes of biomass burned annually, which have tripled in two centuries, but obviously not in the same regions of the world (Read: Biomass and Energy).

Estimated at around 7 Mtoe in 1800, world consumption of mineral coal exceeded 2,100 in 2000, an average annual growth rate of 2.9%, in particularly contrasting stages. Until the First World War, it was the source of the strong upward trend in the growth of total world energy consumption, as a result of an expansion in the use of mineral coal at an average annual rate of 4%, increasing its share of the world energy balance from 2.6% in 1800 to 12% in 1850, 25% in 1875 and 56% in 1913. This was followed by a relative decline in two stages: around 50% between the two world wars, then 25% until the end of the 20th century, before an upturn in the first decade of the 21st century.

Behind the 1.2% growth in world coal consumption between 1913 and 2000, the growth of hydrocarbons, oil and natural gas, at an average annual rate of more than 5%, and that of primary electricity, hydraulic and nuclear, at more than 7%, i.e., at the end of the period, shares in total energy consumption of 36% for oil, 20% for natural gas and 10% for electricity.

1.2 World consumption by region

The evolution of the world energy balance is difficult to understand without disaggregating it at the level of the major regions of the world, whose consumption has varied considerably from one period to another.

How have the trends by region been constructed? Since 1950, the data are those of the United Nations, after slight modifications to make the United Nations and Angus Maddison regional breakdowns coincide and to replace certain equivalence coefficients by others deemed more realistic. Prior to 1950, the data are the result of a search for consistency between three approaches:

  • summing up national chronicles, whenever long series of primary consumption by country could be reconstructed; this approach is sufficient in itself when these chronicles are of good quality and when the consumption of the countries represents almost all of the regional consumption;
  • the search for data on regional consumption, which can be found for some years in the compilation by Joël Darmstadter;
  • direct estimation of regional biomass trends using expert or historical accounts and demographic series.

An examination of these reconstructions, region by region, reveals extreme inequality in the quality of the data and therefore in the reliability of the series (Table 2).

 

Table 2: World consumption by region (Mtoe)

Africa North America  South America  Asia Eastern Europe  Western Europe Oceania World
1800 21 16 9 151 50 59 0.1 305
1810 22 22 9 163 54 61 0.1 332
1820 22 30 10 178 59 65 0.1 364
1830 23 41 11 180 66 69 0.2 391
1840 24 57 13 184 72 80 0.2 431
1850 25 82 15 187 79 94 0.3 483
1860 26 101 16 189 86 122 0.6 541
1870 27 118 18 191 96 156 0.9 607
1880 28 144 21 205 122 206 1.2 728
1890 30 191 25 222 148 261 2.1 880
1900 33 238 30 242 209 335 4.3 1091
1910 41 397 42 264 233 409 7.3 1394
1920 51 506 51 286 144 365 11 1413
1930 63 572 67 320 184 433 14 1653
1940 77 601 88 359 243 441 18 1827
1950 94 861 115 369 263 428 24 2153
1960 125 1112 166 707 542 634 38 3323
1970 181 1684 238 1057 924 1047 58 5189
1980 285 1890 399 1615 1419 1225 83 6916
1990 395 2002 474 2392 1576 1255 106 8200
2000 480 2392 593 3145 1153 1361 119 9242

With the inclusion of biomass in world energy consumption, Asia, the most populous continent, remains at the top of the world energy balance from 1800 (50%) to 1850 (38%). At that time, it was more or less on a par with Europe (from the Atlantic to the Urals) but, contrary to what we know about the consequences of the first industrial revolution, the most significant change in the first half of the 19th century did not come from Europe. Total energy consumption there increased by about 60%, for both demographic and economic reasons, but the main change came from North America, whose share jumped from 5 to 15%. The population of the subcontinent increased fivefold under the pressure of immigration and found forest resources such that per capita consumption there very quickly exceeded the volumes observed on other continents (Read: Mineral coal in the United States: the first steps of the industry).

This predominance will continue until the Second World War when North America will consume more than 40% of the energy sources exploited in the world, largely in the form of hydrocarbons, for a population of less than 7% of the world population.

In the meantime, Western Europe’s share increased from 20% to 30% throughout the 19th century because the doubling of its population was accompanied by an increase in per capita consumption thanks to the strong growth in the use of coal, but in 1900 its 1.6 toe/capita, on average, were far from North America’s 2.9. This difference would become even more pronounced during the 20th century, as Western Europe’s share would be halved as a result of the substitution of coal by hydrocarbons and more efficient conversions.

After 1950, the most notable changes came from the doubling of Eastern Europe’s share, from 10 to 20% between the beginning and the end of communism, which was the bearer of a very energy-intensive economic growth model, and, even more so, from the economic boom in Asia, whose consumption rose from 16 to 35% of the world’s energy balance (See: Energy in China: from the beginning of our era to the establishment of communism and Energy in China: the construction of socialism).

 

2. Africa

This is the region whose energy consumption statistics are the most fragile for three reasons: the share of biomass in the form of fuelwood is still preponderant; national statistical services are recent; historical studies are rare (Table 3).

 

Table 3: Energy consumption in Africa (ktoe)

Coal Oil Natural Gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 21 000 21 000
1810 21 622 21 622
1820 22 262 22 262
1830 23 162 23 162
1840 24 098 24 098
1850 25 072 25 072
1860 26 086 26 086
1870 27 140 27 140
1880 28 434 28 434
1890 29 790 29 790
1900 2 000 100 31 211 33 311
1910 4 777 384 35 877 41 038
1920 7 554 668 42 458 50 680
1930 9 941 1 700 10 50 876 62 527
1940 13 904 3 898 56 59 035 76 893
1950 16 784 8 330 1 121 68 503 93 739
1960 25 479 16 911 20 639 81 722 124 771
1970 34 444 33 885 356 2 135 109 848 180 668
1980 55 102 69 856 15 135 5 226 139 995 285 314
1990 79 957 95 976 33 090 5 296 180 552 394 871
2000 94 761 105 111 45 886 7 998 229 391 479 557

 

The reconstructed evolution must therefore be interpreted with all the more caution since even the demographic data on which biomass consumption estimates are based are periodically revised[6].

Over the past two centuries, for an average annual population growth of 1 or 1.2%, energy consumption has grown by 1.6% per year, a trajectory that includes a doubling of this rate since 1950.

The predominance of biomass, from 100% in 1800 to 70% in 1950 and 48% in 2000, was only very slowly undermined by coal, whose consumption increased from 2 Mtoe in 1900 to 17 in 1950, almost exclusively in South Africa, and by a little less petroleum products from imports or small crude production in Egypt.

It was only during the second half of the 20th century that Africa’s energy balance began a real transformation, with the share of modern energy sources rising from 30% in 1950 to 52% in 2000. In addition to mineral coal, which is now widely used in South Africa and in smaller quantities in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), Malawi and Zambia, petroleum products have replaced coal in other countries (see: The Mineral Coal Industries in Africa: History and Prospects), particularly in those countries that are becoming crude oil producers: Egypt, Algeria, Gabon, Angola, Libya, Congo and Nigeria. In the same countries, some natural gas began to be consumed in the 1960s. At the same time, the development of electrification was based, among other things, on the installation of hydroelectric schemes, particularly in Egypt (Aswan), Mozambique (Cahorra Bassa), Zaire (Inga I and II) and Mali (Read: Mali: the hydroelectric scheme of Sélingué).

 

3. North America

In contrast to the previous one, this region is the richest of all in long series on energy consumption. It is made up of only two countries, one of which is dominant (the United States) and has long-standing federal statistical services and numerous historical studies[7].

 

Table 4: North American Energy Consumption (ktoe)

Coal Oil Natural Gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 77 16 262 16 339
1810 127 22 266 22 393
1820 218 29 943 30 161
1830 615 40 489 41 104
1840 1 713 54 964 56 677
1850 4 714 77 073 81 787
1860 11 289 69 89 389 100 747
1870 22 854 310 95 137 118 301
1880 45 118 2 415 96 723 144 256
1890 89 488 3 925 5 252 22 92 445 191 132
1900 149 216 5 535 5 164 240 77 473 237 628
1910 279 902 24 111 11 032 742 81 668 397 454
1920 341 754 64 862 17 645 2 189 79 532 505 981
1930 305 904 144 847 41 701 4 749 74 859 572 060
1940 282 435 191 909 57 549 7 032 61 838 600 763
1950 314 955 341 513 141 069 13 252 49 802 860 592
1960 228 057 513 060 298 336 21 984 50241 1 111 678
1970 298 177 774 644 527 111 37 048 46 718 1 683 699
1980 393 367 884 474 478 620 70 975 62 148 1 889 583
1990 480 992 850 408 492 958 107 729 70 405 2 002 490
2000 571 865 995 982 596 049 131 800 96 501 2 392 197

 

The most striking features of this evolution (Table 4) are the duration of the predominance of biomass, which in 1870 still accounted for 80% of total energy consumption, and the rapidity of the shift to mineral coal, whose share jumped from 6% in 1850 to 64% in 1900 (See: Mineral coal in the United States: the first steps of the industry).

From then on, biomass gave way first to coal, whose share (73%) peaked during the First World War, and then to oil and natural gas, whose growth was irresistible between 1950 (56%) and 1973 (77.4%). The first oil crisis halted this rise in favour of coal, which made a strong comeback in thermoelectric production, and nuclear power, which contributed to the tripling of the share of primary electricity, from 3.6% in 1973 to 11.1% in 2000.

 

4. Latin America

This huge region stretches from Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego. The sources of information for commercial sources are the same as for the previous regions[8]

. Biomass consumption is treated as for Africa by multiplying the annual number of inhabitants by an assumption of the evolution of per capita consumption (Table 5).

 

Table 5: Energy consumption in Latin America (ktoe)

Coal Oil Natural gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 8 550 8 550
1810 8 844 8 844
1820 9 549 9 549
1830 11 192 11 192
1840 13 246 13 246
1850 15 210 15 210
1860 16 178 16 178
1870 17 988 17 988
1880 21 500 21 500
1890 435 10 24 860 25 305
1900 1 212 93 3 28 764 30 072
1910 6 072 1 855 79 33 891 41 897
1920 4 468 6 483 165 174 39 936 51 225
1930 6 122 12 458 1 507 360 46 721 67 169
1940 6 372 20 347 3 040 646 57 485 87 892
1950 5 792 37 947 2 132 1 1117 67 832 114 821
1960 6 871 78 707 9 066 2 985 67 935 165 565
1970 9 153 126 849 25 929 6 969 68 979 237 880
1980 15 090 226 865 50 711 18 988 86 877 398 530
1990 22 827 253 494 74 046 34 875 88 659 473 900
2000 26 845 301 541 117 442 55 127 91 865 592 820

 

Except in the form of cargoes of English coal unloaded in the ports of Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro, in particular to supply the first gas plants, coal was not very present in the energy balance of the subcontinent in the 19th century and did not grow much in the 20th century: the 10% reached in 1900 did not exceed 15% between 1911 and 1913 and then fell back to between 3 and 5% until the end of the 20th century. This was due to a late industrial take-off and limited coal mining in both Chile and Brazil until it took off in Colombia at the end of the 20th century, but for the international market rather than for domestic consumption.

It was therefore almost exclusively on petroleum products that Latin America industrialized and developed its transport systems, relying on the oil industries of many countries, including those of Mexico and Venezuela (See: Oil: the old concessions of Venezuela and the Middle East; Oil: reforms and renegotiations of the upstream regime in Venezuela and the Middle East and Petroleos de Venezuela). This supply was very early supplemented by natural gas, which was exploited in Argentina as early as 1913. From 35% of total consumption in 1950, hydrocarbons have continued to gain ground until representing 70% at the end of the 20th century (Read: El fracking: por qué en Argentina ; Shale oil y shale gas en Argentina).

 

5. Asia

Keeping in mind the limitations due to the deficiencies of the available statistics[9], the continent’s energy consumption seems to have increased more than 20-fold over the past two centuries due to the six-fold increase in population and access to energy sources other than biomass (Table 6).

 

Table 6: Asia’s energy consumption (ktoe).

Coal Oil Natural Gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 150 500 150 500
1810 163 486 163 486
1820 177 592 177 592
1830 180 754 180 754
1840 183 974 183 974
1850 187 250 187 250
1860 189 246 189 246
1870 191 264 191 264
1880 564 9 104 875 205 449
1890 2 103 373 219 563 222 039
1900 6 033 1 399 234 250 241 681
1910 20 016 4 485 239 657 264 158
1920 34 527 5 488 560 645 244 521 285 742
1930 55 037 9 086 571 1 264 254 330 320 288
1940 74 295 12 043 954 2 712 268 658 358 661
1950 64 184 11 643 776 3 749 288 360 368 711
1960 272 826 82 039 6 438 7 683 338 066 707 052
1970 299 534 351 527 23 095 14 272 368 467 1 056 896
1980 467 717 594 479 71 287 31 920 449 997 1 615 400
1990 797 641 797 168 203 252 62 863 530 689 2 391 613
2000 874 807 1 197 510 387 823 92 174 592 198 3 144 512

 

More than in other regions of the world, the evolution of energy consumption in Asia took a sharp turn after the Second World War with a jump from 0.6% to 4.4% in average annual growth. In addition to population growth rates of 0.5 to 2.0%, the economic reconstruction of Japan and the industrialization of South Korea, China, India and many other Southeast Asian countries stimulated the need for new energy sources.

Chief among these was mineral coal, whose share of the region’s energy balance had risen from 3% in 1900 to 21% in 1950 due to the development of Japan’s coal industry, not only on its territory but also in Manchuria and Korea. Between 1950 and 2000, the development of new coal industries in China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia supported an average annual growth in consumption of 5%. (Read: Energy in China: from the beginning of our era to the establishment of communism and Energy in China: the construction of socialism).

On the other hand, unlike Africa and Latin America, Asia has made less use of hydrocarbons, excluding the oil-producing countries of the Middle East. While the share of oil products peaked at 38% of total consumption during the first oil shock, the share of natural gas never exceeded 11%, both because production is limited throughout the Far East and because imports in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are very expensive.

 

6. Russia and Eastern Europe

The combination of Russia, the former Soviet republics and the countries of Central Europe in the same region has lost much of its significance since the fall of communism in the early 1990s. From a double-secular perspective, however, one cannot forget the long period of common history of all these countries which has left a strong imprint on the growth of their energy consumption (Table 7).

 

Table 7: Energy consumption of Russia and Central Europe (ktoe)

Coal Oil Natural Gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 50 055 50 055
1810 54 466 54 466
1820 59 267 59 267
1830 65 879 65 879
1840 72 492 72 492
1850 79 104 79 104
1860 864 84 833 85 703
1870 4 419 50 91 448 95 916
1880 15 003 577 106 131 121 711
1890 22 332 4 644 120 815 147 791
1900 59 472 13 952 135 515 208 939
1910 86 758 15 737 130 631 233 126
1920 24 063 5 814 652 49 113 509 144 087
1930 76 576 15 511 1 840 102 90 225 184 254
1940 138 727 36 284 4 996 668 62 535 243 210
1950 175 602 44 708 8 239 1 366 33 417 263 332
1960 315 829 138 164 50 156 5 422 32 516 504 085
1970 389 288 321 047 174 171 13 371 26 374 924 256
1980 481 464 538 007 347 609 27 328 24 095 1 418 503
1990 421 306 513 092 571 456 46 268 23 980 1 576 101
2000 284 887 268 055 526 506 46 969 26 441 1 152 858

 

However, knowledge of the latter is far from equal: while the evolution of consumption in Russia from the middle of the 19th century is relatively well known, that of its neighbours is less so. Data are particularly scarce for Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Hungary, all of which have been transformed, or even created, by several political re-divisions[10].

Despite these obstacles, some trends emerge from the reconstruction. The growth in total consumption during the 19th century at an average annual rate of 1.4% certainly exceeds the 1.0% of the population, but not by much, since biomass remains predominant (65% in 1900) even though the efficiency of the means of combustion seems to have improved (Read: Energy in Russia before 1917).

Neither the coal of the Donbass nor the oil of Baku disrupted an energy balance sheet shaped by still archaic methods of heating, craft and industrial production or transport. With the advent of communism in the Soviet Union in 1917 and in the countries of Central Europe after the Second World War, the rate of growth in energy consumption rose to 3.5% between 1920 and 1990 for a population whose growth rate fell to 0.7%.

The first five-year plans were based on a rapid development of coal, from the Donbass to the Urals, then oil and natural gas took over after the Second World War (Read: The energy development of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1950). The share of the former in the region’s energy balance rose from less than 20% in the early 1920s to nearly 70% in the early 1950s, while that of the latter made the same jump between 1950 and 1990. These averages obviously mask significant differences between countries in the region, but the centralized energy policy, based on common transport infrastructures and consumption standards, has tended to unify the energy consumption model.

 

7. Western Europe

Like North America, the region is fairly well supplied with statistical sources, but it is much more fragmented and heterogeneous.

11] The follow-up of the series is made more complex by the changes in borders, both within the region and between regions (case of East Germany – GDR). Finally, it should be remembered that Turkey has been included in the Asia region (Table 8).

 

Table 8: Western European Energy Consumption (ktoe)

Coal Oil Natural Gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 7 000 51 987 58 987
1810 8 930 52 442 61 372
1820 11 770 52 866 64 636
1830 15 901 53 259 69 160
1840 26 330 53 621 79 951
1850 39 972 53 952 93 924
1860 69 309 1 53 072 122 382
1870 103 454 147 52 115 155 716
1880 146 109 488 59 908 206 405
1890 193 460 1 306 1 66 725 261 472
1900 258 689 3 378 1 9 72 877 334 954
1910 328 123 5 312 7 108 75 391 408 941
1920 291 726 6 175 7 470 66 303 364 681
1930 353 383 20 881 7 3 210 55 531 433 013
1940 370 815 20 044 36 6 014 44 470 441 379
1950 332 368 53 286 1 087 9 442 31 419 427 603
1960 385 460 189 236 10 031 19 491 29 952 634 170
1970 335 116 600 471 62 540 31 536 17 826 1 047 489
1980 306 827 658 170 167 865 53 652 20 233 1 225 474
1990 305 349 585 486 224 254 103 045 36 936 1 255 070
2000 216 964 634 925 330 705 126 925 51 720 1 361 239

 

Of all the regions, Western Europe has experienced the most contrasting growth in energy consumption over the past two centuries. Its average annual rate of 1.6% over the entire period is the result of a sustained expansion of 1.8% between 1800 and 1910, followed by a quasi-stagnation of 0.1% between 1910 and 1950, and then a recovery at a rate of 2.4% thereafter. Since population growth of 0.6% varied little, the changes in pace were due to changes in the energy balance and economic development.

The former involved the industrial boom in the United Kingdom and then in the main countries of continental Europe and the increasingly massive use of mineral coal, whose consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.8% until 1830 and then 4% until the eve of the First World War. Its share of total consumption jumped from 12.5% in 1800 to 31.3% in 1830, 48.6% in 1850 and 80.2% in 1910, overtaking biomass in the early 1850s. This predominance persisted until the end of the Second World War before a rapid decline to 32.0% in 1970 and 14.0% in 2000.

In all European countries, coal consumption was supplemented from the end of the 19th century and then gradually replaced by oil products, which jumped from 2% of the energy balance in 1920 to 12% in 1950 and then 60% in 1973, their peak. In contrast to North America, which has a rich subsoil, Europe only began to use natural gas on a massive scale very late: from 10% in 1973 to 22% in 2000, i.e. a slightly higher share than the 19% of primary electricity, which has been growing strongly since the large-scale production of nuclear power from the late 1970s.

 

8. Oceania

The region is limited to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands[12]. The quality of the available data is all the more mediocre as demographers do not agree on the evolution of the population in the 19th century[13] Fortunately, it has little impact on the evolution of world energy consumption (Table 9).

 

Table 9: Oceania’s energy consumption (ktoe)

Coal Oil Natural Gas Electricity Biomass Total
1800 60 60
1810 88 88
1820 130 130
1830 178 178
1840 245 245
1850 336 336
1860 108 461 570
1870 268 633 901
1880 349 815 1 164
1890 974 1 132 2 106
1900 2 862 100 1 364 4 326
1910 5 009 359 1 914 7 282
1920 7 434 618 2 682 10 734
1930 8 637 1 609 102 3 659 14 006
1940 10 384 3 037 214 4 450 18 084
1950 13 497 4 489 382 5 705 24 073
1960 17 458 11 794 894 7 694 37 840
1970 21 434 28 243 1 293 1 891 4 806 57 667
1980 28 503 37 964 8 519 2 747 5 658 83 391
1990 37 759 39 253 18 722 3 445 6 338 105 517
2000 45 878 39 304 22 038 3 858 8 025 119 103

Notes and references

[1] All the statistical series presented below are based on data collection and processing carried out by the Institut Economique et Politique de l’Energie (IEPE) of the CNRS and the Université Pierre Mendes-France (Grenoble), in particular by Patrice Ramain, to whom we are very grateful.

[2] United Nations (1956. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. Geneva: United Nations, 571 pp. Primary electricity is calculated on the basis of 1 toe = 11,630 kWh.

[3] In the following notes, the bibliographic references are not all complete because they have been detailed in the article World Energy Consumption 1800-2000: Sources of Information.

[4] In addition to the one applied to primary sources of electricity (see World Energy Consumption 1800-2000: Definitions and Measurements), those used for the various coals (source IEA) are more restrictive than those of the United Nations, while natural gas is converted into toe PCI instead of PCS.

[5] Joël Darmstadter p. 588 estimates them at 67.79 Mtoe in 1925 and 84.97 in 1950, i.e. about 47 and 59 Mtoe, i.e. 3% of world consumption. 3% of world consumption. Darmstadter (Joel) with Teitelbaum Perry D and Polach Jaroslav G (1971). Energy in the world economy. A statistical review of trends in output, trade and consumption since 1925. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins Press, 876 pp.

[6] The evolution of biomass consumption, in the form of firewood and charcoal, is the product, year by year, of the demographic evolution by a unit consumption supposed to be constant until 1950 (300 koe) and then slightly decreasing until 290 in 2000 in accordance with the data published by the international organizations. At first glance, the constancy is justified by the insignificance of inter-energy substitutions before 1950 and the low rate of urbanisation of the continent (14% in 1950), but the demographic evolution used (see World Energy Consumption 1800-2000: Sources of Information) is significantly lower than the most recent estimates, i.e. 107 million h (1800), 111 million h (1850), 133 million h (1900).

Very little is known about consumption from commercial sources before 1950. The only data found to date are:

joel Darmstadter’s primary consumptions for the continent as a whole (total and by source) and its main countries or sub-regions in 1925, 1929, 1933, 1937 and 1938; B.R. Mitchell’s coal production in 1889 (South Africa), 1904 (Zimbabwe), 1915 (Nigeria), 1918 (Algeria), 1920 (Zaire), 1930 (Morocco and Mozambique); oil production also begins in Egypt in 1911, in Algeria in 1922 and in Morocco in 1933, but, in addition to their very low volume, they do not allow us to go on to consumption. The series reconstructed between 1900 and 1925 (data from Joël Darmstadter) are therefore only provisional estimates.

[7] The sources of the series after 1950 are always the United Nations corrected IEA, especially for biomass. For earlier years, US consumption (commercial and non-commercial) is taken from Palmer Putnam, then, from 1850 onwards, from Sam Schurr, with some adjustments for biomass (See: World Energy Consumption 1800-2000: Sources of Information); Canada’s consumption is taken from B.R. Mitchell, who provides the production and international trade of coal, oil and natural gas since their origin; on the other hand, hydroelectricity production has only been found in Bouda Etemad. Overall, the chronicles of this region are consistent across all sources of information, at least since 1850.

[8] Mitchell B.R (1980). International historical statistics : The Americas and Australasia. London: The MacMillan Press, 930 pp. The yearbook contains sufficient series to be able, with some corrections, to reconstruct the consumption of commercial sources for Argentina (1887), Brazil (1901), Chile (1895), Colombia (1921), Mexico (1891) and Peru (1884). The sum of the consumption of these countries represents more than 80% of that of the region, which is adjusted to complete estimates from 1925.

[9] The statistical sources of commercial sources for Asia are the same as for Latin America: United Nations, IEA for the post-1950 period, Joel Darmstadter, B.R Mitchell for the pre-1950 period. The data compiled by the latter are however very insufficient because, obviously, Asia consumed mineral coal well before 1880 and in much greater quantities than the beginning of the published series indicate, namely China: 508,000 toe of coal in 1903, 45,000 of oil in 1885, no gas or hydro-electricity until 1950; India: 1, 1 Mtoe of coal in 1890, 13,000 toe of oil in 1889, no electricity until 1946; Japan: 133,000 toe of coal in 1874, 1,000 toe of oil in 1875, 479 toe of primary electricity in 1914 and 1,000 toe of gas the following year; nothing on Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey before Joel Darmstadter’s data in 1925. However, there is evidence of coal and lignite production prior to these dates. If their non-exportation is verified, they should be included by supplementing them with imports of English coal known to exist in the 19th century. Etemad Bouda and Luciani Jean, under the direction of Bairoch Paul and Toutain Jean-Claude (1991). World energy production. Geneva: Droz, 227 p, (pp. 17-19 and 41). Nothing on hydroelectric production at dates prior to those of Joël Darmstadter.

Biomass consumption is always obtained by combining the demographic evolution of the continent and an average per capita consumption derived from estimates of international organizations for the period after 1950 and from expert opinion below: initially stable (250 kep throughout the 19th century), it could have decreased to 244 (1910), 238 (1920), 232 (1930), 226 (1940), 220 (1950), 198 (1960), 176 (1970), 174 (1980), 171 (1990), 167 (2000). These hypotheses can be confronted with the results of some research. In the case of China (35% of the population of the Asian region in 2000), Z. Yuan and his colleagues (Int. J. Energy Technology, 2002) estimate biomass consumption in 1993 at 180 Mtoe, i.e. for a population of 1,200 million inhabitants 150 koe per capita, of which 214 koe for rural areas alone where 70% of the population live. Out of a primary consumption of 1,290 Mtoe (1,110 + 180) that same year, biomass represents 14%. It is consumed mainly by households in rural areas (170 Mtoe), mainly in the form of agricultural residues (96), firewood (64) and animal waste (10), in the latter case only by the minorities living in Tibet, Qinghai and Ningxia. In addition, there is about 11 Mtoe of fuelwood in industries in rural areas. The conversion coefficients used in this study are as follows: 2.9 tons of dry matter (wood or waste) = 1 toe (1 ton = 0.345 toe); 1.0 kg of harvested product = 1 kg of residues, except for cotton (3 kg), sorghum and maize (2 kg); 7500 kg/ha of fuelwood in the southern mountains, 3750 in the northern mountains, 750 in the coppices, with a collection coefficient of 0.5 in the plains and 0.2 in the mountains. According to the authors, the most important biomass resource is agricultural residues, the volume of which increases with agricultural production, hence the hypothesis of 150 Mtoe in 1980, 216 in 1994, 270 in 1998, 370 in 2020 and 500 in 2050. At present, about half is used as energy, the rest being used as animal feed (10%), for the production of materials (20%) or being abandoned (20%).

[10] The sources of information on commercial energy consumption are still the United Nations and then the IEA for the period after the Second World War, and Joel Darmstadter for the interwar period. For Russia and then the USSR, by far the most important sub-groups in the region, we can go back to 1860 without too much difficulty thanks to : Palmer Putnam who traces (p. 421-438) the consumption of coal, lignite, oil and gas; B.R. Mitchell (European Historical) who provides series of production, import and export of these same fuels (p. 185, 195-97, 235-241); Bouda Etemad (p. 164) who provides some data on hydroelectricity from 1913. For Central Europe (Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Hungary), we did not find data before 1925 and had to include them in the adjustment between Russia and the Eastern European region.

The estimate of biomass consumption, before the availability of UN and IEA data, is based on Palmer Putnam’s reconstruction and on Paul Bairoch’s evaluations (correspondence), i.e. 650 koe per capita throughout the 19th century (cold climate and abundant resources), then a rapid decrease that expresses the consequences of urbanization, Soviet industrialization and rapid inter-energy substitutions. During the 20th century, per capita consumption could have evolved as follows: 543 koe (1910), 437 (1920), 330 (1930), 224 (1940), 117 (1950), 98 (1960), 75 (1970), 63 (1980), 58 (1990), before the end-of-period increase to 70 (2000).

[11] In addition to recent data from international organizations, numerous statistical series on production, imports and exports for most Western European countries are available in B.R. Mitchell’s European Historical Statistics: Belgium (since 1831), Austria (1819), Denmark (1843), Finland (1860), France (1802), Germany (1817), Italy (1861), Netherlands (1846), Norway (1829), Spain (1849), Sweden (1840), Switzerland (1848) and the UK (1816). For most of these countries, hydroelectric production (assimilated to consumption) can also be found in Bouda Etemad: Italy (1883), Austria (1918), Finland (1929), France (1923), Germany (1925), Italy (1900), Norway (1935), Portugal (1926), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (1929), UK (1920).

Data on biomass consumption after 1950 are those of international agencies adjusted as indicated above (see 2.3.3). Before that date, they result from the product of the demographic evolution by an evolution of the average consumption per capita estimated on the basis provided by Paul Bairoch (correspondences). The junction of the two sources gives 450 kep per capita (1800), 444 (1810), 438 (1820), 432 (1830), 426 (1840), 420 (1850), 405 (1860), 390 (1870), 375 (1880), 360 (1890), 345 (1900), 330 (1910), 275 (1920), 220 (1930), 165 (1940), 110 (1950), 96 (1960), 50 (1970), 55 (1980), 98 (1990), 110 (2000). It should not be forgotten that the rise in consumption from 1980 onwards is based on modern technologies and includes an increasing share of urban, agricultural and industrial waste.

[12] See Table 8, article World energy consumption 1800-2000: sources of information.

[13] Before J. Darmstadter’s data on commercial energy consumption in 1925 and the regular publications of the United Nations, information is scarce. B.R. Mitchell (The Americas and Australasia) gives Australia’s coal and lignite production (p. 404) from 1881 onwards and that of New Zealand, still undeveloped in 1878 (165,000 t). With Australia already exporting 29,000 t of coal in 1851 and its production reaching 1.876 Mt in 1881, the region must have been consuming coal long before the table shows it, and this is without taking into account possible imports of English coal. Bouda Etemad confirms this by giving an Australian production of 369,000 t in 1860 (p. 29).Not very important in the region, hydroelectricity must also have started to develop in New Zealand before 1922 (108 GWh). Biomass consumption has been treated like that of other regions without statistical sources, by multiplying the annual population, which is very underestimated, by an average per capita consumption of 300 kep over the whole period, pending the obtaining of more realistic data than those of the FAO, with or without revision of the IEA.

 


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