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Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] How much electricity are we really consuming? [Earth Hour 2020]

by Theodore Bechlivanis | 01-04-2020 05:08 Comments 11 Comments recommendations 0 recommendations

Last Saturday, on 8:30 pm, the world went dark in celebration of Earth Hour, with households, communities, and businesses in 190 countries turning off their lights in a symbolic call to climate action. Although it was originally intended as a yearly lights-out event, Earth Hour is now a vibrant grassroots movement that has fully integrated into the online activism ecosystem. Needless to say, the internet’s role in this was transformative: this year alone, #EarthHour and relevant hashtags appeared more than 3 billion times on social media, and numerous activities were held digitally in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. WWF even took advantage of Earth Hour’s online popularity to collect signatures for its petition for habitat conservation, “Voice for the Planet”.

For many, the annual hour-long blackout is a chance for introspection - a time to consider the extent and impact of their energy consumption, and to research ways of limiting it. Although the significance of household use is debatable in the face of supply chain electricity consumption, it is easy to predict that there is going to be an upsurge in the former now that a lot of us are under quarantine in our homes. 

Even though it is impossible to find proof of a spike in household consumption during the coronavirus outbreak at the moment, the 2020 Earth Hour is an excellent opportunity to review our overall usage in the last decade. For example, EU member states saw a mere 0.1% increase in residential electricity consumption between 2007 and 2017. However, that average can be deceptive: a cursory search on Eurostat’s database reveals that some countries saw an increase upwards of 21%, while others reduced their use of electricity by more than 17%. This is no wonder; countries like Portugal have been showcasing exemplary use of renewable energy sources, especially to cover their domestic energy needs. 

While the state of affairs in Europe might give grounds for optimism, the greater picture is less rosy. According to the 2019 Global Energy Statistical Yearbook, the average worldwide rate of power consumption went up by 3.5% in 2018. Albeit that can be partially attributed to the residential sector, as in the case American households, the available data point in a different direction.

2010 was the last year the United States were at the top of the electricity consumption list. The country that contributed the most for the rest of the decade was China, starting from 4,052 TWh (TerraWatt hours) in 2011 and growing to 6,167 TWh in 2018. It can be argued that this was caused by the country’s rapid population growth in that timeframe, but that doesn’t seem to be the case: China is the world's largest manufacturing economy, and that is reflected in its increased power consumption. It is also worth mentioning that China is a primary target for foreign investment, with industry giants outsourcing their production - and by extension, their use of electric energy - to the country’s workforce.

A map of the worldwide electricity consumption in 2018

World map of Electricity Consumption in 2018 - Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2019

As worrisome as these statistics are, the future looks promising. The optimisation of renewable energy technologies and the dramatic drop in development costs for solar and wind projects have redefined the energy landscape. Progress is slow, but steady: in 2018, the share of renewables in the total power mix was 26%, with Norway contributing the highest percentage in renewable electricity production, followed closely by Brazil. 

A great part of the current environmental crisis can be traced back to the way we produce and consume energy. This Earth Hour, with the effects of climate change and the loss of biodiversity growing more apparent than ever, it is time to investigate accountability throughout all levels of the electricity supply chain. As end users of a product with tangible repercussions on our ecosystems, we are in a position to demand transparency, green practices, and thoughtful leadership - and we have access to platforms that can ensure that our voices are being heard.


1. "Our Mission", earthhour.org, updated Mar. 29, 2020

2. "Electricity production, consumption, and market overview", Eurostat, June 2019

3. Filipe Lobo d’Avila, Pedro Saldanha, "Renewable energy in Portugal",
Rödl & Partner, Feb. 3, 2020

4. "Electricity Domestic Consumption", Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2019

5. "Share of Renewables in Electricity Production", Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2019

Photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash

time lapse photography of square containers at night


Susmita Adhikari

  • Susmita Adhikari says :
    I hope you are doing well

    Thank you so much for this report
    Posted 23-04-2020 00:15

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Theodore!!

    I do hope that you are fine and doing great with your works.
    Thank you for your report about How much electricity are we really consuming?

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 10-04-2020 19:36

Sang Su Mentor

  • Sang Su Mentor says :
    Hi Theodore, this is a mentor Sang Su Lee.

    I am so glad that more and more people come to know about this event. This event affects people positively, making them to think how valuable it is to use light source. Since it is valuable, people might feel that they need to save energy to use the light for a long time. I hope as you said, the sustainable energy source would be developed soon so that we would not deplete the energy source and not harm the environment.

    Thank you for your good report.
    Posted 06-04-2020 23:49

Taehyun Mentor

  • Taehyun Mentor says :
    Hello Theodore, greeting from mentor Taehyun.

    Thank you for a useful report about energy-consuming! Your last word is indeed true! We can reduce the riskiness of climate change with the changing an energy source. In my country, the largest portion of energy production source is the energy using fossil fuel. And, that circumstance is quite the same in other countries. Even though renewable energy source is new and expensive, but we have to enlarge the portion of the renewable energy source for our next eco generation!

    Thank you for the useful information!

    Green cheers!
    Posted 05-04-2020 21:53

Jasmine Karki

  • Jasmine Karki says :
    I do hope everything is going well..

    Thank you so much for sharing this report!!
    It was awesome to go through it..
    Hope to learn more from you on coming days..

    Green cheers
    Jasmine karki
    Posted 04-04-2020 21:18

Bal krishna Pandey

  • Bal krishna Pandey says :
    Hello Theodore,
    its me Bal krishna from Nepal.
    thank you for sharing about How much electricity are we really consuming? [Earth Hour 2020].
    its really enlightening report

    Posted 03-04-2020 21:32

Sonika Pariyar

  • Sonika Pariyar says :
    Hello Theodore!!

    Thank you for your report!!

    Its great to know about Earth Hour and its importance .
    I enjoyed going through your report!!
    It was informative indeep!!


    Posted 01-04-2020 22:36

Anjila Pandey

  • Anjila Pandey says :
    It was great getting to know about the electricity consumption throughout the world, and role Earth Hour has played.
    Thankyou for the report.

    Posted 01-04-2020 22:14

Hema  Sapkota

  • Hema Sapkota says :
    Hello theodore
    I hope you are doing well
    Very nice Report.
    This report also signifies the importance of Earth hour
    Thank you so much for this report
    I hope to read more from you
    Green cheers
    Posted 01-04-2020 17:51

Dikshya Parajuli

  • Dikshya Parajuli says :
    Enjoyed reading this.
    Thank you for this wonderful report
    Posted 01-04-2020 08:28

Rachu Khanal

  • Rachu Khanal says :
    Thank you for this wonderful report
    Posted 01-04-2020 08:17

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