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What Energy Sources Power the World?

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There are many types of maps out there, but one of the most telling ones is a simple satellite image of the Earth at night.

On these powerful images, the darkness is a blank canvas for the bright city lights that represent the vast extent of human geography. The bright spots help us understand the distribution of population, as well as what areas of the world are generally wealthier and more urban. Meanwhile, the big dark spots – such as over the wilderness in northern Canada, the Amazon basin, or in Niger – show areas that are not densely populated or more rural.

Here’s one image based on this principle. It comes from NASA, and is a composite made from 400 separate satellite images from 2012:

Satellite composite image of Earth

How Are These Lights Powered?

But what if we could differentiate, by “shutting off” lights that are powered by certain electricity sources?

Today’s visualizations come from a nifty interactive website put together by GoCompare.com, and they breakdown the world’s electricity by source: fossil fuels, renewables, or nuclear fission.

Fossil Fuels

To start, here are the places on Earth that are powered by fossil fuels.

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Fossil Fuels only

Globally, fossil fuels represent about two-thirds of electricity usage. It’s also worth noting that fossil fuels also make up the majority of non-electrical sources needed for things like automobiles, aircraft, and ships, which are not shown on the map.

For further interest, we have previously shown the evolution over time of total U.S. energy usage, as well as a detailed breakdown of current U.S. usage – both which are still dominated by fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal.

Nuclear Only

Here are the places on Earth powered by nuclear fission.

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Nuclear only

Nuclear makes up about 10% of all global electricity usage – and France is the world’s most reliant country, getting about 74% of its power mix from nuclear. Also noteworthy is Japan, which has switched its major electrical source from nuclear to fossil fuels since the Fukushima incident in 2011.

Nuclear is a major source of energy in the rest of Europe as well.

Belgium (51%), Sweden (43%), Hungary (51%), Slovakia (55%), Czech Republic (35%), Slovenia (33%), Ukraine (43%), and Finland (33%) all draw significant amounts of their electricity from nuclear reactors.

Renewables

Last, but not least, are renewables.

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Renewables only

It’s important to remember here that hydroelectricity is the largest renewable energy source by far, and that countries like Canada and Brazil rely on hydro extensively.

Outside of hydro, Italy is a leader in solar generation (6% of all electricity). Meanwhile, just eight countries host over 80% of all installed wind power: France, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, India, Germany, USA, and China.

Finally, it’s worth noting that there are four smaller countries that get all, or nearly all, of their electricity from renewable sources. Those include Iceland (72% hydro, 28% geothermal), Albania (100% hydro), Paraguay (100% hydro), and Norway (97% hydro, 2% fossil fuels, and 1% other).

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Energy

Visualizing Saudi Aramco’s Massive Oil Reserves

Saudi Aramco controls almost 259 billion barrels worth of oil and gas reserves.

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Visualizing Saudi Aramco’s Massive Oil Reserves

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Saudi Aramco controls 259 billion barrels worth of oil and gas reserves, which is unmatched by any other company globally. This is a key factor in the company’s massive $1.8 trillion valuation.

To illustrate that, this chart compares the proved reserves of major oil companies as of 2022. Data was compiled by Statista from various company reports.

Crown Jewel

Saudi Aramco is the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. As of 2024, it is the sixth-largest company in the world by market capitalization.

Its oil reserves are over four times bigger than the reserves of all the other six companies on our list combined.

CompanyProved reserves (billion barrels of oil equivalent)
Saudi Aramco258.8
ExxonMobil17.7
Chevron11.2
Total Energies10.2
Shell9.6
BP7.2
Eni6.6

Behind Saudi Aramco, American company ExxonMobil comes in second with 17.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent, followed by another American company, Chevron, with 11.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Saudi Aramco produces 9 million barrels of oil a day, more than any other firm and nearly a tenth of the world’s total.

In addition, the state-run oil giant is the world’s most profitable company, generating $722 billion in profits between 2016 and 2023.

Saudi Aramco is also expected to play a big part in Saudi Arabia’s plans to diversify its economy and reduce oil dependence. Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman confirmed that the kingdom is in talks to sell a 1% stake in the state oil giant, which could help fund the country’s projects in clean energy and technology.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic, which ranks oil production by country.

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