Special Report

26 Countries That Consume More Energy Than They Produce

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11. Netherlands
> Annual energy consumption: 827 terawatt-hours (30th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 384 terawatt-hours (37th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 187.9 tons (30th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 17.4% (28th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 17.3 million

The Netherlands is Europe’s second largest producer of natural gas. Natural gas and coal account for over three-quarters of electricity produced in the country. Still, though the country serves as a transportation, storage, and refining hub for petroleum, the Netherlands produces very small quantities of liquid fuel.

To meet energy demand, the Netherlands is a net importer of petroleum. Combined, refined, and crude petroleum accounted for over 15% of the country’s total import value of over half a trillion dollars in 2019.

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10. Chile
> Annual energy consumption: 456 terawatt-hours (37th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 160 terawatt-hours (42nd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 95.3 tons (38th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 45.1% (9th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 19.0 million

Unlike many of its South American neighbors, Chile is not a major producer of fossil fuels, and as a result it relies more on trade to meet energy demand. The country imported $4.2 billion of refined petroleum in 2019, more than any other commodity. It also imported $3.6 billion worth of crude petroleum, and $1.5 billion worth of petroleum gas.

Like some other countries with limited natural resources, Chile generates a considerable share of its electricity — 45.1% — from renewable sources.

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9. Germany
> Annual energy consumption: 3,437 terawatt-hours (7th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 1,202 terawatt-hours (22nd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 741.8 tons (6th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 41.2% (11th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 83.1 million

Germany is the largest consumer of energy in Europe. It is far from being the continent’s largest energy producer, however, trailing Norway, France, and the United Kingdom. Germany imported over 70% of the energy it consumed in 2019.

Currently, over 41% of electricity produced in Germany is generated through renewable sources. That share will likely increase in the coming years as the country is in the early stages of a long-term initiative to reduce its carbon emissions. The multipronged approach includes phasing out coal, the country’s most common energy resource, by 2038, closing nuclear power plants, and expanding renewable energy infrastructure.

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8. Turkey
> Annual energy consumption: 1,710 terawatt-hours (18th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 556 terawatt-hours (33rd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 415.4 tons (16th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 44.2% (10th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 83.4 million

Due to its geographic location — notably its proximity to the Black Sea and the Middle East — Turkey is a transit hub for oil and natural gas. Though the country is crisscrossed with pipelines moving vast quantities of fossil fuels, Turkey itself is not a major producer of petroleum. The vast majority of liquid fuel the country consumes is imported from trading partners including Iran, Iraq, and Russia.

Electricity in Turkey is largely produced through coal and natural gas. Though renewable sources account for over 44% of electricity production in the country. The country will soon begin incorporating nuclear power into its energy mix with three plants slated to go online in the coming years. The first plant, located in Akkuyu on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is expected to begin operations as early as 2022.

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7. Belgium
> Annual energy consumption: 637 terawatt-hours (33rd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual energy production: 182 terawatt-hours (41st of 44 countries reviewed)
> Annual CO2 emissions from fuel combustion: 108.0 tons (33rd of 44 countries reviewed)
> Electricity generated from renewable sources: 21.3% (18th of 44 countries reviewed)
> Population: 11.5 million

Belgium is one of several European countries that consumes many times more energy than it produces. While Belgium does produce some oil, it produces no natural gas and negligible amounts of coal. Belgium imported $8.5 billion of petroleum gas in 2019.

While Belgium consumes more energy than it produces, it is one of the few countries on this list that produces more electricity than it consumes. About 20% of electricity produced in the country comes from renewable sources, and about half comes from nuclear power plants. The first nuclear facility in Belgium opened in 1974, and now there are seven nuclear generators operating in the country.

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