The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that Asia will account for half of the world’s electricity consumption by 2025, with one-third of global electricity being consumed in China. Although clean energy has been picking up the pace in Asia, coal currently makes up more than half of the continent’s electricity generation. No Asian countries rely on wind, solar, or nuclear energy as their primary source of electricity, despite the combined share of these sources doubling over the last decade.
Slight drops in the continent’s reliance on coal, natural gas, and oil in the last decade have been absorbed by wind, solar, and hydropower. The vast growth in total electricity generated, however, means that a lot more fossil fuels are being burned now (in absolute terms) than at the start of the last decade, despite their shares dropping. Following coal, natural gas comes in second place as Asia’s most used electricity source, with most of this demand coming from the Middle East and Russia.
While China accounted for just 5% of global electricity demand in 1990, it is en route to account for 33% by 2025. The country is already the largest electricity producer in the world by far, annually generating nearly double the electricity produced by the second largest electricity producer in the world, the United States. With such a large demand, the current source of China’s electricity is worthy of consideration, as are its plans for its future electricity mix.
Currently, China is one of the 14 Asian countries that rely on coal as its primary source of electricity. In 2021, the country drew 62% of its electricity from coal, a total of 5,339 TWh of energy. To put that into perspective, this is approximately three times all of the electricity generated in India in the same year.