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0 Jul 22 2013 @ 10:10pm by Matt Smith in Global Energy, Technology

A Random Walk Through Renewable Generation

For the last couple of months I’ve been digging into the hydrocarbon space and studies from LNG exports to NGVs to gasoline, so it seemed a prudent time to go off on a tangent and take a random walk through something non-fossil fuel-ish. So here are ten tidbits I have garnered on my recent travels through the land of renewable generation:

1) Renewable generation is estimated to rise to 25% of global gross power generation in 2018, up from 20% in 2011, and 19% in 2006

2) Hydropower currently makes up the lion’s share of global renewable generation, accounting for 16% of global gross power generation at the last count (in 2011)

3) Wind and solar power are the new kids on the block. Their share is seen as doubling to 8% of global generation in 2018 (from 2011 levels of 4%)

4) Germany is the largest solar electricity producer in the world. It has installed as much solar capacity as the rest of the world combined, and gets approximately 4% of its overall annual energy needs from the sun alone. A recent record saw it met nearly 50% of the nation’s electricity needs. Although some suggest that Germany’s energy portfolio may not be as green as we think, given its increasing reliance on coal

5) Iceland’s generation mix is kinda mad. It is made up predominantly of hydropower (approximately 75%), with the rest from renewables (think: geothermal). No combustible fuels in sight:

Power Generation Mix of Iceland

6) Global renewable generation in 2012 exceeded the electricity consumption of China. Ironically, much of the growth in renewable generation in 2012 was due to stronger hydropower production…from China

7) China currently leads the globe in hydropower generation, and is expected to account for 40% of the growth in global renewable power capacity through to 2018

8) Meanwhile, wind power is expected to be deployed in up to 75 countries in 2018. The current leading nation for wind power is…China – having surpassed the US in 2010. Germany, Spain, and India round out the top five

9) Six of the top ten leading nations for wind power are from Europe (Germany, Spain, UK, Italy, France, and Portugal). Meanwhile,  Denmark is not only the pioneer behind wind power technology, but its wind power generation is equal to approximately 20% of its electricity consumption

10) Renewable generation in the US made up 13% of the total generation mix in 2011. Although nonhydropower capacity is expected to grow by 150% by 2040 – led by solar and wind power – renewable energy will only grow to a 16% share of the generation mix by 2040. Wind power will be the leading source of renewable capacity at this point, surpassing hydropower


I hope this random bag of renewable energy info has been useful. As always, thanks for playing!

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