China added 53 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2021, including 29 GW of distributed solar projects, according to the country's National Energy Administration (NEA). The country's total solar capacity reached 306 GW at the end of the year, with 107.5 GW of distributed solar (+29 GW in 2021, i.e., around 55% of all new solar PV capacity added in 2021). More than 40% (21.5 GW) of the total capacity corresponded to residential solar plants (compared to more than 10 GW added in 2020). In 2020, China had added more than 49 GW of solar capacity.
The combined production of fossil fuels (including natural gas, crude oil, and coal) in the United States increased by 2% in 2021, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2021, natural gas accounted for 46% of US production of fossil fuels, followed by crude oil (30%), coal (15%) and NGPL (9%). The public agency forecasts that the country's output of fossil fuels will continue to rise in 2022 and 2023, surpassing the 2019 production level and reaching a new record in 2023. Indeed, natural gas production in the United States, which increased by 2% in 2021, will expand by 3% in 2022 and 2% in 2023. US crude oil production will increase by 6% in 2022 and 5% in 2023, after +1% in 2021. US coal production, which rose by 7% in 2021, will grow by 6% in 2022 and 1% in 2023. Finally, natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) production increased by 4% in 2021 and will rise by 9% in 2022 and 4% in 2023.
According to Trade Statistics of Japan, Japanese LNG imports declined by 0.2% in 2021 to 74 Mt. In 2020, Japan was the world's largest LNG importer, accounting for around 20% of global imports. However, LNG imports have been declining since 2017 and are now estimated to be lower than China's LNG imports, that grew by nearly 19% in 2021 according to preliminary statistics, making China the largest LNG importer worldwide in 2021.
Renewables accounted for 22.1% of the European Union's gross final energy consumption in 2020, compared to 17.4% in 2015, according to Eurostat. The regional bloc targeted 20% of renewables in gross final energy consumption by 2020. Sweden had by far the highest share among the EU Member States in 2020 (60.1%), followed by Finland (43.8%), Latvia (42.1%), Austria (36.5%) and Portugal (34%). The lowest proportions of renewables were recorded in Malta (10.7%), Luxembourg (11.7%), Belgium (13%) and Hungary (13.9%). France was the only country that missed its 2020 national goal for renewables of 23% with 19.1%. In addition, the share of renewables in electricity consumption rose to 37.5% in 2020 in the EU; they accounted for 23.1% of total energy use for heating and cooling and for 10.2% for transport.