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Renewable Energy

How quickly are countries scaling up the production of renewable technologies? Explore the data.

9 days ago

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Since the Industrial Revolution, the energy mix of most countries across the world has become dominated by fossil fuels. This has major implications for the global climate, as well as for human health. Three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions result from the burning of fossil fuels for energy. And fossil fuels are responsible for large amounts of local air pollution – a health problem that leads to at least 5 million premature deaths each year.

To reduce CO2 emissions and local air pollution, the world needs to rapidly shift towards low-carbon sources of energy – nuclear and renewable technologies.

Renewable energy will play a key role in the decarbonization of our energy systems in the coming decades. But how rapidly is our production of renewable energy changing? What technologies look most promising in transforming our energy mix?

In this article we look at the data on renewable energy technologies across the world; what share of energy they account for today, and how quickly this is changing.


All our charts on Renewable Energy

Renewable energy generation

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How much of our primary energy comes from renewables?

Per capita renewables

Which countries generate the most renewable energy per person? Per capita generation of renewable energy

Annual change renewables

How is the generation of renewable energy changing year-to-year in absolute terms? Annual change in renewable energy generation

Annual percentage change renewables

How is the generation of renewable energy changing year-to-year in percentage terms? Annual percentage change in renewable energy generation

We often hear about the rapid growth of renewable technologies in media reports. But just how much of an impact has this growth had on our energy systems?

In this interactive chart we see the share of primary energy consumption that came from renewable technologies – the combination of hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tidal and modern biofuels [traditional biomass – which can be an important energy source in lower-income settings is not included].

Note that this data is based on primary energy calculated by the ‘substitution method’ which attempts to correct for the inefficiencies in fossil fuel production. It does this by converting non-fossil fuel sources to their ‘input equivalents’: the amount of primary energy that would be required to produce the same amount of energy if it came from fossil fuels. We look at this adjustment in more detail here.

In 2019, around 11% of global primary energy came from renewable technologies.

Note that this is based on renewable energy’s share in the energy mix. Energy consumption represents the sum of electricity, transport and heating. We look at the electricity mix later in this article.

Breakdown of renewables in the energy mix

In the section above we looked at what share renewable technologies collectively accounted for in the energy mix.

In the charts shown here we look at the breakdown of renewable technologies by their individual components – hydropower, the solar, wind, and others.

The first chart shows this as a stacked area chart, which allows us to more readily see the breakdown of the renewable mix, and the relative contribution of each. The second chart is shown as a line chart, allowing us to see more clearly how each source is changing over time.

Globally we see that hydropower is by far the largest modern renewable source [since traditional biomass is not included here]. But we also see wind and solar power are both growing rapidly.

How you can interact with the stacked area chart

Renewables in the electricity mix

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How much of our electricity comes from renewables?


In the sections above we looked at the role of renewables in the total energy mix. This includes not only electricity but also transport and heating. Electricity forms only one component of energy consumption.

Since transport and heating tend to be harder to decarbonize – they are more reliant on oil and gas – renewables tend to have a higher share in the electricity mix versus the total energy mix.

This interactive chart shows the share of electricity that comes from renewable technologies.

Globally, around one-quarter of our electricity comes from renewables.

Hydropower

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Hydropower generation

Per capita hydro

Which countries produce the most hydropower per person?Per capita generation of hydropower

Per capita hydro

How is the generation of hydropower changing year-to-year in absolute terms?Annual change in hydropower generation

Annual percentage change hydro

How is the generation of hydropower changing year-to-year in percentage terms?Annual percentage change in hydropower generation

Global hydro consumption

How much energy does the world produce from hydropower?Global hydropower generation

Hydro consumption by region

Hydropower generation by region

Hydroelectric power has been one of our oldest and largest sources of low-carbon energy. Hydroelectric generation at scale dates back more than a century and is still our largest renewable source – excluding traditional biomass, it still accounts for more than 60% of renewable generation.

But the scale of hydroelectric power generation varies significantly across the world. This interactive chart shows its contribution by country.

Hydropower in the energy and electricity mix

Share of primary energy that comes from hydropower


This interactive chart shows the share of primary energy that comes from hydropower.

Note that this data is based on primary energy calculated by the ‘substitution method’ which attempts to correct for the inefficiencies in fossil fuel production. It does this by converting non-fossil fuel sources to their ‘input equivalents’: the amount of primary energy that would be required to produce the same amount of energy if it came from fossil fuels. We look at this adjustment in more detail here.

In 2019, around 7% of global energy came from hydropower.

Share of electricity that comes from hydropower


This interactive chart shows the share of electricity that comes from hydropower.

In 2019, around 16% of global electricity came from hydropower.

Wind energy

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Wind energy generation

Per capita wind

Which countries consume the most wind energy per person? Per capita generation of wind energy

Annual change wind

How is the consumption of wind energy changing year-to-year in absolute terms? Annual change in wind energy generation

Annual percentage change wind

How is the generation of wind energy changing year-to-year in percentage terms? Annual percentage change in wind energy generation

Wind energy consumption by region

Wind energy generation by region

This interactive chart shows the amount of energy generated from wind each year. This includes both onshore and offshore wind farms.

Wind generation at scale – compared to hydropower, for example – is a relatively modern renewable energy source but is growing quickly in many countries across the world.

Installed wind capacity

The previous section looked at the energy output from wind warms across the world. Energy output is a function of power (installed capacity) multiplied by the time of generation.

Energy generation is therefore a function of how much wind capacity is installed. This interactive chart shows installed wind capacity – including both onshore and offshore – across the world.

Wind in the energy and electricity mix

Share of primary energy that comes from wind


This interactive chart shows the share of primary energy that comes from wind.

Note that this data is based on primary energy calculated by the ‘substitution method’ which attempts to correct for the inefficiencies in fossil fuel production. It does this by converting non-fossil fuel sources to their ‘input equivalents’: the amount of primary energy that would be required to produce the same amount of energy if it came from fossil fuels. We look at this adjustment in more detail here.

In 2019, around 2% of global energy came from wind.

Share of electricity that comes from wind



This interactive chart shows the share of electricity that comes from wind.

In 2019, around 5% of global electricity came from wind.

Solar energy

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Solar energy generation

Per capita solar

Which countries produce the most solar energy per person? Per capita generation of solar energy

Annual change solar

How is the generation of solar energy changing year-to-year in absolute terms?Annual change in solar energy generation

Annual percentage change solar

How is the generation of solar energy changing year-to-year in percentage terms?Annual percentage change in solar energy generation

Solar energy consumption by region

Solar energy generation by region

This interactive chart shows the amount of energy generated from solar power each year.

Solar generation at scale – compared to hydropower, for example – is a relatively modern renewable energy source but is growing quickly in many countries across the world.

Installed solar capacity

Solar pv energy consumption vs solar pv capacity

How does solar energy generation compare to installed solar capacity?Solar energy capacity vs. generation

The previous section looked at the energy output from solar across the world. Energy output is a function of power (installed capacity) multiplied by the time of generation.

Energy generation is therefore a function of how much solar capacity is installed. This interactive chart shows installed solar capacity across the world.

Solar in the energy and electricity mix

Share of primary energy that comes from solar

This interactive chart shows the share of primary energy that comes from solar power.

Note that this data is based on primary energy calculated by the ‘substitution method’ which attempts to correct for the inefficiencies in fossil fuel production. It does this by converting non-fossil fuel sources to their ‘input equivalents’: the amount of primary energy that would be required to produce the same amount of energy if it came from fossil fuels. We look at this adjustment in more detail here.

In 2019, around 1% of global energy came from solar technologies.

Share of electricity that comes from solar

This interactive chart shows the share of electricity that comes from solar power.

In 2019, just over 2% of global electricity came from solar.

Biofuels

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Biofuel production

Biofuels production by region

Biofuel production by region

Traditional biomass – the burning of charcoal, organic wastes, and crop residues – was an important energy source for a long period of human history. It remains an important source in lower-income settings today. However, high-quality estimates of energy consumption from these sources are difficult to find. BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy – our main data source on energy – only publishes data on commercially traded energy, so traditional biomass is not included.

However, modern biofuels are included in this energy data. Bioethanol and biodiesel – fuel made from crops such as corn, sugarcane, hemp, and cassava – are now a key transport fuels in many countries.

This interactive chart shows modern biofuel production across the world.

Geothermal

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Installed geothermal capacity

This interactive shows the installed capacity of geothermal energy across the world.

Definitions

SI UnitWatt-hour (Wh) equivalent
Watt-hour (Wh)
Kilowatt-hour (kWh)One thousand watt-hours (103 Wh)
Megawatt-hour (MWh)One million watt-hours (106 Wh)
Gigawatt-hour (GWh)One billion watt-hours (109 Wh)
Terawatt-hour (TWh)One trillion watt-hours (1012 Wh)

To maintain consistency between metrics and sources, we have attempted to normalise all energy data to units of watt-hours (Wh), or one of its SI prefixes. The table shows the conversion of watt-hours to the range of SI prefixes used.

Data Sources

BP Statistical Review of World Energy

The Shift Project (TSP)

IEA – International Energy Agency

Energy Information Administration

World Development Indicators – World Bank

Eurostat

Published 9 days ago