The Imager of Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning (ISUAL) experiment on the FORMOSAT-2 satellite has recently reported that an elve is the most dominant type of transient luminous events (TLEs) and deduced the global occurrence rates of sprites, halos and elves to be ∼1, ∼1 and 35 events/min, respectively (Chen et al 2008 J. Geophys. Res. 113 A08306). In this paper, we report the computed radiative emission and energy precipitation of the TLEs in the upper atmosphere. By analysing 1415 ISUAL TLEs, we found that for sprites, halos and elves the spatially averaged brightness are 1.5, 0.3 and 0.17 MR, and the energy deposition is 22, 14 and 19 MJ per event. After factoring in the global occurrence rates, the global energy deposition rates in the upper atmosphere are 22, 14 and 665 MJ min-1 from sprites, halos and elves.