World Regional Renewable Fuel Sources Total renewables in Gigawatts
29.79 GW 15.27 GW
162.3 GW 86.9 GW
Europe 441.0 GW
Central America & the Caribbean
Renewable fuel sources hydro wind solar bio
South America 179.2 GW
Middle East 16.2 GW
Africa 34.0 GW
BY Benjamin Henig
Renewable energy is defined as ‘energy from a source that is not depleted’. Main sources include biomass, hydropower, wind, biofuels, solar, heat pumps, biogas, geothermal and marine (such as tidal power). Data by the International Energy Agency sees the share of renewable energy in global power generation at 22 per cent in 2013, with an estimated increase to 26 per cent by 2020 as a result of supportive policies by a large number of governments.
The capacity of renewable energy produced in the world has grown by over 47 per cent in the past five years, according to statistics by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In 2015 alone the world saw a growth of 8.3 per cent in renewable power generation, the highest annual growth rate ever recorded. By the end of last year, a capacity of 1,985GW existed globally. This is 5.3 times the amount of energy produced by all nuclear power plants.
All countries in the world have at least one abundant renewable resource, but the role of renewables in domestic energy production varies significantly depending not only on the overall energy potential and demand but also on political and economic decisions made by different governments. In the European Union, the share of renewable energy was around 15 per cent in 2014, with a political target of increasing this to 20 per cent by 2020.
The above map provides a global overview of the installed renewable energy capacity across main regions in 2015 as documented in IRENA data. The depiction is a circular cartogram in which the areas of each circle relates to the total power capacity in four main sources of renewable energy: Hydropower (which accounts for approximately 53 per cent of global renewable energy
10 | July 2016