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Renewable Energy Sources – Quick Facts


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Renewable Energy Sources

Quick Facts - By country

Which countries produce the most alternative energy by terawatts per year?

The highest producer of alternative energy in terms of terawatt (1012 watts) hours per year is:

  • China generating 696.09 tw.h
  • United States at 413.2 tw.h.
  • Brazil with 409.806 tw.h per year

It’s worth noting the European Union, if looked at collectively, is the second biggest producer of alternative energy in the world.

Which country produces the highest percentage of its total energy production as alternative energy?

Several countries are able to produce all their energy from renewable sources, although this is distinctive from total energy consumption.

Only producing energy from renewable sources:

  • Albania
  • Lesotho
  • Paraguay
  • Iceland

Large-scale use of alternative energy:

  • Norway - 97%
  • New Zealand - 74%

Which country invests the most in alternative energy?

China invests an estimated $65 billion per year in renewable energy. However, the biggest per GDP investor in renewable energy is Denmark which spends 3.1% of GDP – $9.4 billion – on green tech.

Which countries have the most ambitious alternative energy targets?

Australia, the European Union and India have all set themselves the most strenuous alternative energy targets with 20% by the year 2020.

By type of energy

What is the total alternative energy production worldwide?

Around 16% of total energy worldwide comes from renewables with a further 10% coming from traditional biomass and 3.4% from hydroelectricity.

What is the most widely used form of alternative energy worldwide?

Solar energy is the most common form of renewable energy. Wind is a close second, with geothermal not far behind the two as to commonality of use.

What is the most common alternative energy source used in the home?

Solar, or photovoltaic, energy is the most common alternative energy used in the home. Radiant energy in water heating systems is also used in many parts of the world.

By Project

What are the biggest alternative energy projects in the world?

  • Hydro – China’s Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydroelectric project in the world, which produces 22,500 MW.
  • Wind – The Roscoe wind farm is, currently, the biggest in the world, producing 781.5 MW. The biggest offshore wind farm in the world is located at Thanet, off the coast of the United Kingdom. This produces 300M of power per year.
  • Solar – The Sarnia Photovoltaic Energy plant is, as of September 2010the largest photovoltaic solar plant in the world.
  • Tidal – The Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station in Korea is the largest tidal energy system in the world. It has a capacity of 240MW.
  • Wave – The Aguçadoura Wave Farm was the world's first and largest wave farm. However, following the financial crisis of 2007-8, the plant shut down when the operating company, Babcock & Brown, went into administration.
  • Geothermal – The largest group of geothermal plants in the world is sited at The Geysers in California where 22 installed plants produce 1517MW of electricity.

Future Alternative Energy Projects

There are several alternative energy projects which will surpass those listed above in the coming years.

  • The planned Alta Wind Farm in California will, once completed, be the biggest wind farm in the world with a capacity of 800MW.
  • The Wave Hub, off the coast of Cornwall, UK, is expected to have a capacity of between 20 and 40 MW.
  • The UK is currently examining the possibility of a tidal barrage in the Severn which could produce 8.6GW of energy.
  • Desertec Australia and Desertec Africa aim to fill deserts with photovoltaic solar panels. The theory is that a Saharan solar project could provide energy for most of Europe.

Visit our Alternative Energy section for more articles about renewable energy sources.

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