New research conducted by GoCompare Energy has highlighted the disparity in electricity usage by countries across the globe.

Despite there being a total of 196 countries in the world, 91 per cent of the Earth’s total electricity consumption is used by just 20. China alone uses almost a quarter (24 per cent) of the total electricity output, making it the single largest consumer in the world. The United States comes in second with 19 per cent of the total electricity consumption, using more than three times that of third placed India (5 per cent).

The top five consumers of the world’s electricity are:



Terawatt-hour (Twh)

Total of world’s electricity consumption




United States













While China is top 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.

The UK is the world’s 11th biggest consumer of electricity, with over a quarter (26 per cent) of usage coming from renewable energy 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.

To put this into perspective, Energy has created a visualisation to highlight what the world map would look like if it were based on how much electricity the top 20 countries use relative to their size.

Electricity consumption graphic Energy also looked at the electricity consumed per capita, with the following five countries ranking high for electricity usage per population size:



Terawatt-hour per million people (Twh)



United States






Saudi Arabia



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 their 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 2 per cent of the electricity they use being renewable.

Ben Wilson from GoCompare Energy said: “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.”


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