As we make our way through this new decade, the climate emergency is making it increasingly important to move away from fossil fuels. Our electricity production should rely greatly on renewable, carbon-neutral sources.
Governments and corporations around the world have been announcing new plans and commitments to become carbon neutral by specific dates, such as 2030 or 2050. A central component of their plans is to revamp electricity generation. And there are several countries leading the way in this new energy revolution that we can all learn from. Below are 6 Top Countries Leading in Renewable Energy as of March 2020.
6 Top Countries Leading in Renewable Energy in 2020 (With Video)
List of 6 Top Countries Leading in Renewable Energy in 2020
Since the 1980s, Iceland has been generating virtually 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. It is a sparsely populated island nation of around 365,000 people situated between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. For its geographical stand, Iceland is ideal for the implementation of hydroelectric and geothermal energy production. In fact, in 2015, hydropower provided 73% of Iceland’s electricity while geothermal power accounted for the remaining 27%. This makes Iceland the world’s largest green energy producer per capita, a spot in proudly claims.
Very close behind Iceland, Norway produces a staggering 98% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Norway is a Scandinavian country with a population of 5.4 million, and its use of hydropower (96% of its electricity) dates back to the late 1800s. However, Norway plans to diversify its electricity generation by exploring new avenues for renewable energy production. Most notably, these include offshore wind and solar farms. They are capable of generating huge amounts of energy without taking up massive land space.
In pioneering these technologies and their mass implementation, Norway would be paving the way for many countries to follow and utilize their offshore wind and solar capacities for a greener future.
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3. Costa Rica
On the other side of the world from Iceland and Norway is Costa Rica. Though it is much smaller in land size (51,100 km2), it has a much higher population, nearing 5 million people. Nevertheless, this Central American country has generated more than 99% of electricity from renewable sources in 2019, an impressive achievement. Hydroelectricity accounted for 78% of their electricity needs, while wind and geothermal accounted for 10% each. Interestingly, solar energy accounted for very little at only 0.84%. But what does this mean? Costa Rica has shown the world that you don’t need to be a nation with sunny deserts or windy plains to refuse fossil fuels; you just have to look around you and utilize the natural renewable resources you have.
Brazil’s new government has been less than cooperative about environmental matters such as protecting the world’s largest rainforest. However, it is still a key player in the world of renewable energy. More than 75% of this huge country’s electricity supply is generated by renewables.
Yet, what makes Brazil stand out from other countries, is its use of biofuels in the transportation sector. (Read more about Future of Biofuels). Brazil is known to be a world leader in the biofuel industry. It utilizes its abundance of corn to produce bio-ethanol and fuel its transportation sector.
More than 73% of the total cars in Brazil run on a mixture of gasoline and ethanol fuel. This allows the sector to emit substantially less CO2 than it would have otherwise. Thus, Brazil provides a good example for other countries wishing to eventually decarbonize their private energy sector: an essential step to becoming carbon neutral in the near future.
Although China is responsible for the most global CO2 emissions as a nation, they are also the world’s biggest investors in renewable energy at home and abroad. Many governments have been hesitant to commit large sums of money to develop this cause. However, China has committed more than USD 750 billion between 2010 and 2019. In fact, their investments have been more than twice that of the runner up – the United States. In addition, China has the largest overseas investments in renewable energy. This is largely due to their immense manufacturing capacity. It allows domestic companies to expand operations overseas and invest technologies in developing countries. For instance, six of the world’s top ten solar panel manufacturers are Chinese companies. Therefore, when it comes to spending and investment in renewable energy, China is indeed a world leader.
This is perhaps the most surprising entry on this list of Top Countries Leading in Renewable Energy in 2020. Bangladesh is the world’s fastest-growing country in terms of home solar panel installation. Nearly 3.5 million Bangladeshi homes are now using solar power.
This helps the country not only to reduce its carbon footprint but also to improve the lives of its citizens. It offers a more stable electrical grid and results in increased job opportunities in the energy sector. For a country where more than a quarter of the rural population has no access to electricity, this is huge. Bangladesh is showing the world that paving a more sustainable future is not solely about cutting emissions, but about improving lives.
Conclusion on Top Countries Leading in Renewable Energy in 2020
Of course, there are many more countries that are at the forefront of changing our planet for the better with renewable energy sources. Whether through research & development, financing, or policy changes, every country needs to do its part to ensure a greener future for humanity. Let us know what you think about our list in the comments below!