No matter which side you take in the climate debate one thing is certain. Fossil fuels are getting expensive and dangerous to extract from the earth. This has led many countries to begin implementing real solar programs. So which countries are leading the charge for renewable energy sources? The results might be a little surprising to some of you. Remember that even if your country did not make the list you could always see your standing jump next year.
Seeing China take the top spot is a bit odd to me but it also makes perfect sense. Chinas government set up allows them to pass clean energy legislation with ease and install it quickly. This has led China to a commanding total renewable energy output of 797.4 TWh/year (terawatt-hours per year). With hydroelectricity being China’s favorite method of renewable energy production, China outputs a whopping 687.1 TWh/year, which is almost more than the next two countries on the list combined.
2. European Union
This is the entity that I believe most of us expected to see at number one. Still coming in at second on the global stage is no small feat. The European Union has begun a rapid roll out of a myriad of clean, renewable, energy sources. Europe creates an impressive 699.3 TWh/year, with the majority of that coming from hydroelectricity. Currently Europe is creating 397.7 TWh/year in Hydro Electricity, 149.1 TWh/year in Wind Power, 123.3 TWh/year in Biomass and waste energy production.
3. United States of America
Surprisingly we see the United States coming in at a respectable third place. Given all the political gridlock we see on a daily basis, it is hard to imagine that anything is being done. Nevertheless, we see the United States making 520.1 TWh/year in total renewable energy output. The United States creates a healthy amount of hydroelectricity with 325.1 TWh/year. Still the United States could be the world leader if it put its resources and workforce to the task. I hope that things change in the future.
Brazil is a country with a wonderful location for it to harness both solar and hydroelectricity. Number four on the list generates 459.2 TWh/year. An impressive amount of that comes from hydroelectricity where Brazil produces 424.3 TWh/year, which is second only to China. Brazil’s growth comes from economic necessity and rational forward thinking.
Coming in at number five, Canada’s small population has welcomed renewable energy with aplomb. Canada generates roughly 399.1 TWh/year in renewable energy from a mixture of mainly Hydroelectricity and Wind Power. Canada actually produces more hydroelectricity than its southern neighbor the United States does. Canada produces 372.6 TWh/year, which pegs them at number four on the world stage. Expect Canada to rise in rank in the coming years.
Renewable energy is a hot field, no pun intended, as every major country is aware of the possibilities. Imagine a world where energy production is domestic and never imported. No more volatile gasoline prices, no more outrageous heating charges, and best of all no pollution. This is an attainable world and every year it looks to be getting closer and closer to reality.
About the Author
Eduardo Dieguez is a 1st generation American born Cuban that is currently in pursuit of his AA Degree at Valencia. An avid computer enthusiast, Eduardo spends countless hours tinkering with electronics both new and old. When not working with electronics, Eduardo is professional content writer for Bob Heinmiller Solar Solutions.
Photo credit: Lance Cheung / Renato Ganoza / European Parliament / Brave Heart / Andre Maceira / Grant MacDonald