World energy resources and consumption

To make it easier to compare the numbers, this article uses SI units and prefixes and measures energy rate (or power) in watts (W) and amounts of energy in joules (J). The non-SI unit quad, equal to 1.055 EJ (=1018 J) is sometimes used to report energy usage.

In 2004, the worldwide energy consumption of the human race was on average 15 TW (= 1.5 x 1013 W) with 86.5% from burning fossil fuels. This is equivalent to 471,000 PJ (= 4.71 x 1020 J) per year.

The remaining worldwide energy resources are large,

Using 1995 figures provided by the World Bank, in that year, the world's energy consumption totaled 316 quadrillion BTUs.

A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a standard measure of energy that can be used regardless of the type of energy being produced.

For example, there are 3,413 BTUs in a kilowatt hour of electricity.
A barrel of oil contains 5.8 million BTUs.



Developing Australia's abundant low-cost energy resources is a key to our future prosperity. Australia is the world's fourth largest producer, and largest exporter, of coal. We supply 8 per cent of the world trade for liquefied natural gas, and possess 40 per cent of the world's low-cost uranium reserves. Our known oil reserves are significant, but are projected to decline in the absence of new discoveries. Australia has significant wind and solar resources, and limited large hydro resources. Investment committed on energy projects under development in Australia totaled $11.1 billion at April 2004 and a further $38.8 billion in investment is under consideration (ABARE 2004).

Figure 1: Composition of Australian energy supply Total Energy ‘Other' Energy Wind and Solar Energy

Renewable energy is an essential part of Australia's low emissions energy mix and is important to Australia’s energy security. It plays a strong role in reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and helping Australia stay on track to meet its Kyoto target and beyond. Australian Government support for renewable energy assists industry development, reduces barriers to the national electricity market, and provides community access to renewable energy.