New research by energy price comparison site GoCompare Energy shows that 91 per cent of the Earth’s electricity is used by just 10 per cent of the countries in the world.

The research has revealed that the UK uses six times more electricity per square kilometre compared to other countries in the top 20, and Taiwan uses more electricity per square kilometre than any other country, though these figures reflect the countries’ industrial activity as well as their density of population. The research also shows how green each country is.

To help visualise the results of their research, the data gathering team have devised a map which distorts countries’ size by their energy consumption.

Ben Wilson from GoCompare Energy commented: “Seeing the stark difference between actual country size and country size if based on electrical consumption is definitely eye opening. Of course, some can be put down to the area of land which is actually populated, such as Australia, but others can be attributed to the predominant industry within that country, such as Taiwan’s reliance on heavy industry including crude oil processing.”

The company has been looking at how energy sources are likely to change as we try and reduce climate change, and the research naturally lead them to looking at how different countries consume different amounts of energy.

Findings

The UK is the world’s 11th biggest consumer of electricity, with over a quarter (26%) of usage coming from renewable sources. Relative to other countries in the top 20 consumers of electricity, the 312Twh used by the United Kingdom is 6 times more per square kilometre - that’s the fourth highest out of the 20 biggest consumers, and would see the 242,495km2 land occupied by the UK stretch to 1,500,601km2 if based on electrical consumption.

Top five consumers of the world’s electricity

While China is the worst culprit for overall electricity consumption, Taiwan takes first place for the country which uses the most electricity per square kilometre; 31 times more for its land area when compared to the rest of the top 20 countries.

Electricity consumed per capita: the five worst culprits for electricity usage per population size

Green energy

The research also shows how green each country is: out of the top 20 consumers, Brazil leads the way, with nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of its electricity coming from renewable sources, followed closely by Canada (63 per cent). Saudi Arabia, the 14th biggest consumer of electricity, does not use any electricity from a renewable source. South Korea is the second biggest culprit, with just two per cent of the electricity it uses being renewable.

To find out what measures are being used across the globe to improve renewable energy usage, click here.

Image: GoCompare Energy's map showing the world's 20 biggest domestic consumers of electricity, rescaled to reflect electricity consumption proportional to landmass. Source: Enerdata (www.enerdata.net)