Global electricity production falls, but renewables rise

18 April 2023

The latest International Energy Agency’s ‘Monthly Electricity Statistics’ report includes January 2023 data and shows that for the whole OECD membership, total net electricity production amounted to 941.9 TWh in January 2023, down 5.9% year-on-year compared to January 2022.

Electricity production from renewables went up by 1.6 % year-on-year to 313.4 TWh in January 2023, driven by strong wind (+5.5% y-o-y or 5.9 TWh) and solar (+7.7% y-o-y or 2.4 TWh) output. This growth did not overcome the negative trend witnessed by fossil fuels, amounting to a loss of 56.8 TWh (-10.9% y-t-d) compared to 2022.

Electricity production from coal fell 16.4% y-o-y or 34.1 TWh, essentially driven by a lower output in the OECD Americas (-29.8% y-o-y) and in OECD Europe (-10.2% y-o-y), while in Asia-Oceania production slightly increased (+0.9% y-o-y). Electricity production from natural gas went down by 5.5% y-o-y, or 15.6 TWh, with Europe being the main contributor to this drop (-22.3% y-o-y, or 16.1 TWh). Nuclear electricity production in the OECD decreased by 4.3% y-o-y, ie 7.3 TWh, in January 2023, mainly because of reduced nuclear output in the Europe region (-10.0% y-o-y, or 6.7 TWh).

January’s stand-out figures came from Finland, where total net electricity production was 7.5 TWh in January 2023, up by 0.7 TWh or 10.4% y-o-y compared to the same month in the previous year. This trend was mostly driven by the growth in electricity production from wind, which increased by 49.0% y-o-y and reached a record high share of 26.4% in the electricity mix, as a result of increased wind power capacity in the course of 2022. While electricity generated from nuclear increased (11.2% y-o-y), fossil fuels continued to decline (-23.7% y-o-y), driven by natural gas (-55.0% y-o-y). 

Image: OECD electricity production, TWh, by fuel type, year on year comparison (Source: OECD/IEA)

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