Feature Reports

Renewable Energy Producers and Consumers

fr - qpqc énergies renouvelables
© PROEHL STEVE / SUNPOWER CORP

Renewable energy, provided by the sun, wind, water, the Earth’s heat or organic matter, accounted for roughly a fifth of global electricity production in 2012. These energy sources are considered inexhaustible, unlike fossil fuels, which are being depleted. Renewable energies can meet some energy needs — heat, electricity and fuel — and have a smaller environmental footprint.  

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Featured Figures

Global Hydropower Production

Hydropower is produced by damming water. It is generally consumed locally. The leading source of renewable energyEnergy sources that are naturally replenished so quickly that they can be considered inexhaustible on a human time scale... in the world, hydropower accounted for more than 16% of global powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... generation in 2017, making it the third largest source of global power generation behind coalCoal is ranked by its degree of transformation or maturity, increasing in carbon content from...  (40%) and gas (19%). Hydropower is also one of the most evenly distributed sources of renewable energy.

 

China is by far the world’s leading producer, generating more than a quarter of global output. Brazil, Canada and the United States are the other industry heavyweights. Production often varies significantly from one year to the next, depending on climatic conditions. 

 

 

In the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECDFounded in 1960, the OECD promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world... ), the development potential has largely been realized. In emerging economies, environmental and social issues (such as biodiversityRefers to the natural diversity of living organisms. It can be measured through the study of species, genes and ecosystems. and population displacement) and investment costs impede the launch of major projects.

 

 

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Global installed photovoltaic solar capacity went from strength to strength, led by global giants China (up 67.9%) and the United States (up 26.2%).Robust growth was also reported in Australia and Japan. Although a longtime pioneer in the global solar industry, Germany has been stalling in recent years and now lags far behind the United States and Japan in terms of installed capacityThe power generation capacity of a particular plant. It is usually expressed in megawatts (or sometimes even gigawatts)... .

 

Thanks to strong growth in its solar (and wind) industry and the ongoing shift from coalCoal is ranked by its degree of transformation or maturity, increasing in carbon content from... to gas in the powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... generation mix, the United States was the only country to report a decrease in CO2emissions in 2017. 

 

 

In Europe, France recorded one of fastest rates of growth, albeit starting from a much lower level: its installed capacity is almost six times lower than that of Germany.

 

 

 

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Global installed wind powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... capacity continued to rise sharply, surging 20.2% between 2016 and 2017. Growth was led by China and the United States, followed by Germany, which reported year-on-year growth of 12.7%. Installed capacityThe power generation capacity of a particular plant. It is usually expressed in megawatts (or sometimes even gigawatts)... also increased in India and Brazil.

 

Europe has an abundant supply of wind energyEnergy derived from the wind. Wind power involves converting the kinetic energy of moving air (wind) into electricity. , with wind farms expanding rapidly in the United Kingdom (up 22.3%), particularly offshoreRefers to sea-based oil exploration and production operations, as in "offshore license" or "offshore drilling". . Boasting growth of more than 15% between 2016 and 2017, France now ranks fourth in Europe in terms of installed capacity and will enter the offshore market in 2018 with the construction of its first offshore wind farm.

 

 

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Global installed wind powerIn physics, power is the amount of energy supplied by a system per unit time. In simpler terms, power can be viewed as energy output... capacity has been rising steadily for 15 years. The European Union developed wind farms early on and is now the region with the highest installed capacityThe power generation capacity of a particular plant. It is usually expressed in megawatts (or sometimes even gigawatts)... worldwide (118 GW). Since 2004, wind power capacity in North America and Asia has been growing rapidly, ensuring that global wind power capacity is more evenly distributed among Europe, the United States and Asia.

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