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World's top 15 electricity producers, India 5th

Last updated on: September 17, 2010 11:52 IST

World's top 15 electricity producers, India 5th

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The world is already in the grip of a major power crisis. With the developing nations' appetite and demand for more energy, the situation is likely to get even worse if steps are not taken to find alternate and clean/green sources of energy

Almost all natural resources that are used to generate power -- oil, gas, even water -- seem to have limited availability. Thus alternative sources of energy --  wind, nuclear, solar -- might be the way out for the developing as also the rich countries.

After the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change, many nations pledged to reduce their carbon emissions. Developing countries, including India and China, believe it is the responsibility of wealthy industrialised nations such as the United Kingdom and the United States to cut more carbon emissions as they have already achieved a certain standard of living.

As India and China, and indeed other nations, grow towards attaining better lifestyles and living conditions for their populations, their appetite for electricity will only rise further.

The total electricity production in the world in 2008 stood at 19,950,3917,395,212 kWh (kWh, or kilowatt hour, is a unit of energy equal to 1,000 watt hours), while the total power consumption was 17,109,665,000 gigawatt hours. The per capita power consumption in the world was 297 watts: almost six times the Indian average.

So which are the world's largest producers and consumers of electricity?

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Sources: The World Factbook; Energy Information Administration; Union Ministry of Power, India; Wikipedia.


Image: The total electricity production in the world in 2008 stood at 19,950,3917,395,212 kWh.
Photographs: Reuters
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1. The United States of America

The world's largest producer of electricity is indeed the United States of America. In 2008, America produced a gigantic 4,110,259,050,000 kWh of power.

The US is also the world's largest consumer of electricity. In 2007, it consumed 3,872,598,000 megawatt hours of electricity, but its per capita power consumption, at 1,460 watts, it is not the highest in the world.

Countries like Iceland (3,152 watts), Norway 2,812 watts, Finland (1,918 watts), Canada (1,910 watts), Qatar (1,757 watts), Sweden (1,692 watts), Luxembourg (1,549 watts), Kuwait (1,540 watts) among others have a much higher per capita power consumption than the United States does.

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Image: Fireworks at the Capitol in Washington.
Photographs: Reuters
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2. China

China, the world's fastest growing major economy, is undeniably a global economic powerhouse. In a testimony to its growing clout, China's nearly $5 trillion economy surpassed Japan to become the world's second largest economy in June 2010.

While the global financial crisis was a catastrophe for most economies, it was more an opportunity than a calamity for China. It is an energy-hungry nation, and its rapidly growing economy required more and more reserves to keep it going. That is why the Asian giant has been buying into natural resources and reserves globally.

Bolstered by massive stimulus measures and improving domestic output, China has clocked a staggering economic growth rate of almost 10 per cent for several years.

The Asian giant is the world's superpower in hydropower generation and its total electricity production in 2008 was 3,221,798,270,000 kWh, second only to the United States.

Even in power consumption, China ranks second in the world. In 2009, it consumed 3,650,600,000 gigawatt hours of electricity. At 277 watts, its per capita power consumption is almost five times that of India.

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Photographs: Reuters
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3. Japan

Japan, which is the world's third largest economy, produced 1,009,445,000,000 kWh of electricity in 2008 making it the world's third largest generator of power, ahead of Russia and India.

Japan's total electricity consumption in 2008 was 1,007,067,000 gigawatt hours, with a per capita power consumption of 868 watts. It is the world's third largest consumer of electricity.

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Photographs: Reuters
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4. Russia

Russia is the world's fourth largest producer of electricity. In the year 2008, the Russian Federation produced 982,998,790,000 watts of electricity.

Russians consume 840,380,000 gigawatt hours of electricity making them the fourth highest users of power. The per capita power consumption in Russia is 785 watts, which is more than 15 times what an average Indian consumes.

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Photographs: Reuters
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World's top 15 electricity producers, India 5th

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5. India

India faces a power crisis of such magnitude that it can be termed as one of the biggest threats to the nation's economic growth and progress. Today, decades after Independence hundreds of Indian villages still do not have electricity, especially in the rural areas.

Among the cities, with the sole exception of Mumbai, almost all Indian cities suffer daily power cuts, affecting industry, business, education and life in general.

And this, despite the fact that India has the fifth largest electricity-generation capacity in the world. It has an installed capacity of over 152 gigawatts (1 gigawatt is equal to 1 billion watts).

In 2008 (which are the latest figures available), India produced 787,546,450,000 kWh of electricity, which is about 4 per cent of the total power generation in the world. Only four other countries produce more electricity than India.

India is also the world's fifth largest consumer of electricity. In 2007, India consumed 568,000,000 megawatt hours of electricity, which works out to an average of about 51 watts per person.

Comparatively, the per capita electricity consumption in the United States is 1,460 watts, and in China it is 700 watts.

India has amongst the lower per capita power consumption rates in the world. Only Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Congo, Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Cameroon, Nepal, and some other sub-Saharan countries have lower power consumption than India.

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Image: The majestic Taj Mahal.
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6. Canada

Canada produced 614,227,000,000 kWh of power in 2008. It ranks as the sixth highest consumer of electricity in the world.

Canada, however, is the seventh largest consumer of power. In 2008, it consumed 536,054,000 gigawatt hours of electricity, at a per capita rate of 1,910 watts (37 times that of India).

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Photographs: Reuters
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7. Germany

Germany, with a 2008 electricity production of 589,042,000,000 watts, is the world's seventh largest producer of electricity.

At a consumption rate of 547,326,000 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2008, Germany is the sixth largest power consumer. Its per capita consumption is 822 watts.

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Photographs: Reuters
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8. France

France is the world's eighth largest producer of electricity. In 2008, it generated 539,022,000,000 kWh of electricity.

France's per capita power consumption is 851 watts, and it is the world's eighth largest consumer of electricity at 447,233,000 gigawatt hours.

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9. Brazil

The BRIC nations have a huge power generation and consumption capacity. After China, Russia and India, Brazil too ranks among the top 10 power generators. In 2008, Brazil produced 448,913,750,000 kWh of electricity, making it the world's ninth highest power generator.

Brazil also consumes a hefty amount of electricity. In 2007, it consumed 403,029,000 gigawatt hours of electricity, making it the world's ninth largest user of power. Its per capita consumption is 226 watts.

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Photographs: Reuters
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10. South Korea

South Korea generated 415,970,000,000 kWh of electricity in 2008, making it the world's tenth largest power producer.

The Asian economic major is the world's 10th largest power user. It consumed 386,169,000 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2007, with a per capita usage of 879 watts.

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Photographs: Reuters
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11. The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, with a 363,203,000,000 kWh of electricity production in 2008, is the 11th largest power generator.

At 345,798,000 gigawatt hours of electricity consumption in 2007, the UK is the world's 11th largest user of power. It's per capita usage of electricity stands at 667 watts.

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12. Italy

Several rich European nations feature among the top 15 electricity producers in the world. Italy ranks 12th in terms of power generation. In 2008, the nation produced 292,544,200,000 kWh of electricity.

Italy consumed 307,100,000 gigawatt hours of power in 2007. Its per capita usage is at 603 watts. It is the world's 12th largest consumer of electricity.

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13. Spain

Spain, in 2008, generated 288,549,000,000 kWh of electricity. That makes it the world's 13th largest producer of electricity.

At 243,000,000 gigawatt hours of electricity consumption, Spain is the world's 13th largest user of power. Its per capita power consumption stood at 644  watts in 2007.

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14. Australia

Australia, which ranks amongst the world's richest nations with terrific infrastructure and per capita income, produced 249,914,000,000 kWh of electricity in 2008. It is the 14th largest power producer on the planet.

Down Under, power consumption is quite high. The country's per capita power usage stood at 1,244 watts in 2007. Overall, Australia consumed 219,800,000 gigawatt hours of electricity, making it the world's 16th largest consumer of electricity.

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Photographs: Reuters
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15. Mexico

Mexico is the 15th largest producer of electricity. It produced 244,952,000,000 kWh of electricity in 2008.

At 183,300,000 gigawatt hours of power consumption in 2007, Mexico is the world's 17th largest user of electricity. Its power capita power consumption stood at 195 watts.

South Africa, with a consumption of 241,400,000 gigawatt hours at a per capita rate of 581 watts is the world's 14th largest consumer of power.

Taiwan consumed 221,000,000 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2007, making it the 15th largest consumer of power in 2007. Its per capita power usage is high at 1,101 watts.


Photographs: Reuters
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