For the second year in a row, world energy growth slowed, rising by 2.4%, down from 3.2% in 2005, but still just above the 10-year average with robust demand in Asia Pacific and China in particular. Chinese energy consumption rose by more than 8% with the country’s share of total global consumption rising to more than 15%.

Continued high energy prices resulted in slower consumption growth amongst the main energy importers, particularly the US where primary energy consumption fell by 1% in 2006 compared with 2005. Oil, natural gas and coal usage were down while nuclear energy and hydro-electricity were up very slightly. The OECD countries accounted for the lion’s share of the global increase of some 1.4% in nuclear output, mainly through increased capacity utilisation and capacity upgrades. Hydroelectric generation was above the decade average at 3.2%, with notable capacity-related increases in China, India and Brazil.

In the renewables sector use of wind and solar continue to grow rapidly with installed wind capacity up by some 25% in 2006, although still accounting for less than 1% of worldwide electricity production. Solar power was also up sharply but its contribution, like wind and other renewables relying heavily on government subsidies, is still an even smaller contributor to global power.

The company’s chief economist-designate Christof Rühl commented: “Last year showed markets at work. Primary energy consumption growth has decelerated – particularly for fuels which have seen the highest increase in price. However, global carbon intensity – the link between carbon emissions growth and energy growth – has increased.”

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