In 2019, world gross electricity production was 1.3% higher than 2018. Global electricity production has grown each year continuously since 1974, except for between 2008 and 2009, when the global financial crisis sharply cut demand.

In 2019, non‑OECD countries’ share of production reached 58.6% of world electricity generation - more than double the share they held in 1974. Increasing energy efficiency limited annual production growth between 2010 and 2019 to just 0.1% in OECD countries (membership as of April 2021), compared with 4.6% in non‑OECD countries.

Total gross electricity production, 1974-2019


In 2019, generation from combustible fuels accounted for 65.3% of global gross electricity production.

Combustible fuels include coal and coal products, oil and oil products, natural gas, biofuels including solid biomass and animal products, gas/liquids from biomass, industrial waste and municipal waste.

World gross electricity production by source, 2019



Electricity generation from combustible fuels accounted for 57.1% of total OECD gross electricity production (compared with 71.1% for non-OECD).

Over the two years 2018 and 2019, global electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind (+11.8%) and solar (+22.5%) registered robust growth.

Provisional data for 2020 show that gross electricity generation fell 2.4% across the OECD. Compared with 2019, the electricity mix shifted towards renewables, with lower generation from coal (‑15.9%) offset in part by higher output from wind (+12.3%) and solar (+20.8%). This shift to renewables was driven in part by depressed electricity demand during Covid-19 lockdowns, low operating costs and priority access to the grid. In the OECD, combined output from wind, solar, and geothermal is now approaching that of hydro.

OECD gross electricity production variation, 2018-2020p


Share of OECD gross electricity production by source, 1974-2020p