Special Report

26 Countries That Consume More Energy Than They Produce

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16. India
> Annual energy consumption: 10,621 terawatt-hours (3rd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 6,707 terawatt-hours (5th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 2449.6 tons (3rd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 20.7% (19th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 1.4 billion people

Home to nearly 1.4 billion people, India is the second most-populous country in the world, after China, and the third largest energy consumer, after China and the United States. Energy production in the country is not nearly strong enough to meet demand, and the gap between production and consumption shows no signs of closing. As a result, India imports over $100 billion in crude petroleum, coal, and petroleum gas annually, mostly from the Middle East.

Coal accounts for the bulk of India’s energy consumption, followed by petroleum and biomass. Construction projects across India rely on coal as fuel, and many of those projects were halted during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, coal consumption may have dipped in the country in 2020, a break from the longer-term trend.

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15. Czech Republic
> Annual energy consumption: 502 terawatt-hours (35th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 311 terawatt-hours (38th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 109.9 tons (32nd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 12.8% (31st of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 10.7 million

Aside from coal and small amounts of petroleum and natural gas, the Czech Republic has relatively limited natural resources for power generation. As a result, the central European nation relies heavily on nuclear power plants and imported fuel.

The first nuclear reactor opened in the Czech Republic in 1985. Today, there are half a dozen nuclear reactors in the country, generating about 33% of the country’s electricity. Going forward, the Czech Republic will look to expand its nuclear production capability substantially. The country also imported nearly $7 billion in refined petroleum, crude petroleum, and petroleum gas in 2019.

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14. Poland
> Annual energy consumption: 1,195 terawatt-hours (24th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 690 terawatt-hours (30th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 333.0 tons (19th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 15.8% (30th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 38.0 million

Poland’s energy use exceeds its production by over 70%. Like many other countries that are net importers of energy, Poland does not have large scale oil reserves. The country, however, is the second largest coal producer in Europe after Germany. But due to declining coal prices, coal production in the country has fallen each year in the country for the better part of a decade. Demand for coal in the country is driven by electric power utility companies — coal generates nearly three-quarters of Poland’s electricity, according to the EIA.

With limited oil production capability, Poland imported $10 billion in crude petroleum in 2019, more than any other commodity other than cars.

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13. France
> Annual energy consumption: 2,807 terawatt-hours (12th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 1,538 terawatt-hours (19th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 332.7 tons (20th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 20.5% (20th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 67.1 million

Lacking in natural resources used in power generation, France produces very little crude oil. To meet demand for fossil fuels, the country imported over $40 billion in crude and refined petroleum in 2019. The country also implemented a ban on hydraulic fracturing in 2011, and as a result, imported $12.7 billion in natural gas in 2019.

Unlike many countries on this list, however, France is a net exporter of electricity. The country is the second largest producer of nuclear power in the world, after the United States, and the low cost of nuclear energy production has made France the world’s top exporter of electricity. Still, accounting for all forms of energy, including electricity, France consumes far more than it produces.

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12. Thailand
> Annual energy consumption: 1,657 terawatt-hours (19th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 878 terawatt-hours (27th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 299.2 tons (22nd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 20.1% (22nd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 69.6 million

Though Thailand does have some proved crude oil reserves, they are declining, and as a result, the country is increasingly relying on trade to meet demand. And while the country is continually increasing its natural gas output, production does not match consumption. Thailand imported $18.3 billion in crude petroleum — more than any other commodity — and another $7.1 billion petroleum gas in 2019.

For electricity production, Thailand uses renewable sources like biomass, hydro power, and solar. The country also often imports electricity from neighboring Laos and Malaysia to help meet demand.

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