Global Industry Overview: Energy
The world's energy industry produces, transmits, and distributes electricity and natural gas. Electric power generation may be derived by any number of methods, including burning fossil fuels, harnessing wind or water motion, or energy from nuclear reactions. Often several separate companies or organizations are involved in the production and distribution chain, which includes everything from initial production to delivery to end users. Various firms and public utilities specialize in certain phases of energy production, while others integrate several production steps. For example, some firms may generate electricity and sell it to distributors that resell it to the public. Similarly, natural gas companies may operate pipelines feeding the distribution companies that then provide natural gas to end users in businesses and private residences.
The International Energy Agency reported that 41.6 percent of the total worldwide energy supply in 2002 came from non-coal and non-oil sources, up from 30 percent in 1973. Non-oil sources included natural gas, nuclear, hydro, combustible renewables, waste, wind and solar. Most electricity was still being produced using coal, but there was a growing use of natural gas and nuclear power in some countries. Alternative renewable forms of electricity generation were continuing to make inroads, with many investments in wind, geothermal and combustible renewable sources.