China, US Tops for Renewable Energy But LatAm, Africa Making Strides

June 3, 2014 – Renewable sources account for 19 percent of global energy output with worldwide investment topping $200 billion last year.

China, the US, Brazil, Germany and Canada are the top five countries for total installed renewable power capacity with China and the US also investing the most in clean energy last year followed by Japan, UK and Germany, according to a new report by the Renewable Energy Network in collaboration with the UN Environmental Program.

However, as a percentage of GDP invested in renewable sources, Uruguay, Mauritius, Costa Rica, South Africa and Nicaragua were the top five in 2013.

China produces more than 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources while the figures for the EU28 and United States are 14.1 percent and 12.9 percent respectively.

Energy produced from coal declined by 19 percent in the US from 2008 to 2013 while Spain became the first country to produce more electricity from wind, 20.9 percent, than any other source, the report says. Denmark, Kenya and El Salvador also produce more than 20 percent of electricity from wind.

The report also says that in China, new renewable power capacity surpassed new capacity from fossil fuel and nuclear capacity for the first time.

Worldwide, nuclear power accounts for 2.6 percent of total energy produced.

The number of developing countries with policies supporting renewable energy has increased six-fold in the past eight years from 15 in 2005 to 95 this year, according to the report which will be launched at UN headquarters on Wednesday.

Despite increasing use of alternative sources, the use of fossil fuels for energy has not declined as demand for energy outpaces growth in renewable energy.

There are still some 1.2 billion people, one-fifth of the world’s population, without electricity, according to the World Bank, including about 550 million in Africa and 400 million in India.

– Denis Fitzgerald
On Twitter @denisfitz