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Natural gas

World natural gas consumption grew by above-average 3.1 percent in 2007, although only North America, Asia-Pacific and Africa recorded above-average regional growth.

The US accounted for nearly half of the world's gas consumption growth, driven by an extremely cold winter and strong demand for gas in power generation. Chinese consumption grew by 19.9 percent and accounted for the second largest increment to global gas consumption.

Coal was the fastest growing fuel in the world for the fourth consecutive year. Global consumption rose 4.5 percent. Consumption growth was widespread, with growth in every region except the Middle East exceeding the 10-year average.

Chinese coal consumption rose 7.9 percent, the weakest growth since 2002, but more than two-thirds of global growth. Indian consumption rose 6.6 percent and OECD consumption rose 1.3 percent, both above average.

Nuclear power output fell by 2 percent, the steepest decline on record. However, more than 90 percent of this decline was accounted for by Germany and Japan, which saw the world's largest nuclear power plant closed following an earthquake. Hydroelectric generation increased 1.7 percent, slightly below the 10-year average.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy remains a small share of total global energy use, but most renewable sources experienced rapid growth in 2007. Ethanol output rose by 27.8 percent. Global capacity for wind and solar electricity generation grew broadly in line with historical averages of 28.5 percent and 37 percent, respectively.

(China Daily July 9, 2008)

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