The rest of the world is not as reliant on fossil fuels as the United States. Many other countries have taken steps to embrace renewable energy. These nations lead the way toward a future of greener electricity. Discover some of the most interesting renewable energy statistics by country. These nations are pushing the world toward going to green energy within the next 20 to 40 years.
Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy includes more than solar panels. Despite decades of using electricity, mankind still gets most of its power from using something to turn a turbine. Fossil fuels burn to generate steam, but renewable sources do this without burning nonrenewable resources. Wind, water and geothermal heat can all turn turbines. Biomass is a renewable source of fuel for burning. Of these, the most cited in renewable energy statistics by country are solar, wind and water.
With a name like Iceland, you’d be excused for thinking this is a land of ice. But this island nation is built on the Trans-Atlantic Ridge, which pushes magma to the surface. This hot magma fuels the country’s geothermal energy, which accounts for 13 percent of its energy production. As a country with 100 percent renewable energy, Iceland’s remaining 87 percent of its power comes from hydropower.
The United Kingdom is turning to renewable energy with Scotland at the front. Much of the UK now uses wind power. For a nation that once relied on coal, this is a tremendous change. Its coal use has dropped from 42 percent of its electricity production to only 7 percent in 2017, just five years later. In Scotland, some especially windy days produce more electricity than the nation uses. Ireland also benefits from wind power. In 2015, a single day was blustery enough to power 1.26 million homes.
Since 2000, China has dramatically increased its production of renewable energy. In 2000, the amount barely registered above three billion kilowatt-hours. By 2015, this measurement rose to 295 billion kilowatt-hours. Part of this power comes from wind. China produces one-third of the world’s wind power and is the top producer on earth. When the world’s most populous nation makes such a drastic change in energy sources in just 15 years, it gives hope for other countries around the world.
Many link the United States to its dependency on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas. But this country is also making strides toward greener energy. Over the most recent seven years, the United States dropped emissions from energy production by 12 percent. This marks a small start in a trend toward becoming greener and relying less on nonrenewable resources.
While small, Costa Rica is making a large impact on worldwide renewable energy use. This nation uses nonrenewable energy for 99 percent of its electricity production. It’s even logged pairs of consecutive using 100 percent green power. With a 2021 deadline of achieving full carbon neutrality, Costa Rica is on track to achieve its goal. Along the way, this tiny country shows the world how geothermal, wind and water can power an entire population.
All of Europe has a low target of 20 percent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. To showcase its drive toward a greener, cleaner world, Romania set its own nation’s goal of 24 percent renewable power. The country has already exceeded this. The eastern European nation uses renewable resources to generate 24.8 percent of its country’s power, setting them well on their way to exceeding the EU renewable energy target of 27 percent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2030.
Uruguay is the answer to those opposed to significant government intervention in switching to greener energy. In less than a decade, this country has rocketed to using renewable for 94.5 percent of its electricity generation and 55 percent of the country’s total energy mix. Additionally, it did not increase the amount consumers paid nor did the country use subsidies to achieve this. It’s a true testament that greener energy goals do not require subsidies to reach.
Kenya has made strides toward stepping away from standard fossil fuels and hydroelectric power to wind power. In 2015, this nation set out to build the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project. This would become the largest wind farm on the entire continent. Though two-thirds of Africa’s population does not have electricity, Kenya is looking to the future of switching to wind power as it and the rest of the continent seek to increase electricity access.
Though the climate in Germany has posed problems for integrating renewable energy in solar power, by 2015 the nation had increased its use of green energy sources almost 3000 percent compared to 1991. Though still behind places like Iceland and Scotland, Germany in 2015 recorded a day that reached a peak of using 78 percent renewable energy. Wind power is a major contributor. Germany has the third highest wind power production in the world.
Despite having only one-third of its energy from renewable sources, Austria is doing well with using hydroelectric sources for power. This country gets the majority of its electricity from water with a potential capacity of 13 gigawatts. Wind and solar power fall far behind, but these sources are not insignificant. Wind power can produce 2.4 gigawatts. Power from solar can be 900 megawatts. For reference, home electricity use is measured in kilowatts per hour. A megawatt is 1,000 kilowatts, and a gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts or one million kilowatts.
Many Scandinavian nations rely more on renewable energy as time passes. Norway ranks close to 100 percent with renewable sources supplying 98 percent of the country’s power. Like Austria, most of the power Norway uses comes from hydroelectric sources.
Sweden has successfully switched to getting a majority of its energy from renewable sources. Over the last 48 years, the country dropped its reliance on oil significantly. In 1970, 75 percent of Sweden’s energy came from oil. Today, the number is below 20 percent. This country has put forth a challenge to the rest of the world’s nations to make earth a 100 percent renewable energy planet.
Though renewable energy is not universal, yet, many countries are trying to make it so. As these renewable energy statistics by country show, these places sit on the edge of a future of greener electricity. Perhaps one day, the rest of the world can achieve the goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy.