Electricity is a natural force that was first discovered thousands of years ago in Ancient Greece in the form of static. It was not until the 19th century, though, that electricity was fully harnessed for everyday use. Inventions that we take for granted today, such as the lightbulb, changed human history forever. Nowadays, electricity is essential in every sector of modern life supporting both social and economic development, and life without it has become unimaginable.
Electricity consumption: The demand for electricity has increased massively in the past four decades. Rising populations, technological advancement, and widespread usage of consumer electronics have led global electricity consumption to rise from around 7,300 terawatt hours in 1980 to more than 23,000 terawatt hours in 2019. With millions around the world still lacking electricity access, demand is projected to continue growing in the coming decades. Currently, China is by far the largest electricity consumer worldwide, followed by the U.S. Combined, the two superpowers account for roughly 50 percent of global electricity consumption. When it comes to the electricity consumption per capita, however, the U.S. surpasses China by a wide margin, while Canada leads the ranking, yielding the highest consumption worldwide.
Electricity generation: To keep up with the growing demand, global electricity generation reached a high of 26,730 terawatt hours in 2019, more than double the annual output in the early 1990’s. Electricity can be generated in a number of ways, including energy sources such as fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy. As countries seek to reduce their carbon footprint, renewable electricity generation has seen a noticeable increase in the past decade, accounting for over one quarter of the total generation. However, fossil fuels are still the main source of electricity generation worldwide. In 2019, the global installed electricity capacity from fossil fuels was more than four terawatts roughly twice the installed renewable capacity. In particular coal, the highest greenhouse gas emitter of the group, accounted for around 40 percent of the global power mix that year.
Electricity Exports by Country
International sales revenue from electricity exports from all countries totaled 28.8 billion dollars in 2020. Overall, the value of exported electrical energy increased by an average 14.2 percent for all exporting countries since 2016 when electricity shipments were worth 25.2 billion dollars.
From 2019 to 2020, the value of globally exported electricity declined by minus 12.8 percent.
The 5 biggest electricity exporters are Germany, France, Laos, Canada, and Paraguay. Collectively, that cohort of major electricity suppliers furnished 38.3 percent of total electricity exporters during 2020.
Among continents, exporters in Europe sold the highest dollar worth of electricity during 2020 with shipments valued at 17.9 billion dollars or 62.3 percent of the global total. In second place were Asian exporters at 17.7 percent. Another 7.7 percent originated from North America, ahead of Latin America with 7.1 percent excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Africa with 5.2 percent.
Here are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of electricity during 2020:
Germany with 3.3 billion dollars accounts for 11.5 percent of total electricity exports, France with 2.2 billion accounts for 7.5 percent, Laos exports electricity valued at 1.93 billion dollars which is 6.7 percent of global electricity exports, Canada exports 1.89 billion dollars value of electricity which is 6.6 percent, Paraguay with 1.74 billion accounts for 6 percent, Switzerland’s 1.56 billion dollars export stands at 5.4 percent, China with 1.51 billion dollars, Austria’s electricity export is valued at 1.28 billion dollars or 4.5 percent of global exports, Czech Republic rakes in 899.5 million dollars from electricity exportation which is 3.1 percent, Sweden with 824.3 million dollars, Hungary exports 732.9 million dollars worth of electricity, Spain exports 727.4 million dollars of electricity, Netherlands exports 675.2 million dollars worth of the commodity, South Africa does 645.5 million dollars in electricity exportation which stands at 2.2 percent and Slovakia with 624.9 million dollars which is 2.2 percent of total global exportation of electricity.
The listed 15 countries shipped 71.2 percent of global electricity exported in 2020 by value.
Four top exporters grew their electricity exports since 2019 namely Laos which was up by 45.8 percent, the Netherlands which was up by 41.1 percent, Paraguay which was up by 10.7 percent, and Slovakia up by 3.7 percent.
Those countries that posted declines in their exported electricity sales were led by: Sweden down by minus 45.5 percent, Czech Republic down by minus 32.5 percent, France down by minus 28.2 percent, Hungary down by minus 18.1 percent, and Spain down by minus 15.1 percent.
Electricity Imports By Country
The United States of America is the largest electricity importer in the world with 59.052 Billion Kilowatthours imported per year.
Italy comes second with 43.98 Billion Kilowatthours yearly import. With 40.123 Billion Kilowatthours of import per year, Germany is the third largest importer of electricity the other top importers are Switzerland, Thailand, Austria, Brazil, United Kingdom, Finland, Iraq, and The Netherlands.