Category: renewables

Mapped: Solar and Wind Power by Country


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


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How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?

Mapped: Solar and Wind Power by Country

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Wind and solar generate over a tenth of the world’s electricity. Taken together, they are the fourth-largest source of electricity, behind coal, gas, and hydro.

This infographic based on data from Ember shows the rise of electricity from these two clean sources over the last decade.

Europe Leads in Wind and Solar

Wind and solar generated 10.3% of global electricity for the first time in 2021, rising from 9.3% in 2020, and doubling their share compared to 2015 when the Paris Climate Agreement was signed.

In fact, 50 countries (26%) generated over a tenth of their electricity from wind and solar in 2021, with seven countries hitting this landmark for the first time: China, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Argentina, Hungary, and El Salvador.

Denmark and Uruguay achieved 52% and 47% respectively, leading the way in technology for high renewable grid integration.

RankTop CountriesSolar/Wind Power Share
#1?? Denmark51.9%
#2?? Uruguay46.7%
#3?? Luxembourg43.4%
#4?? Lithuania36.9%
#5?? Spain32.9%
#6?? Ireland32.9%
#7?? Portugal31.5%
#8?? Germany28.8%
#9?? Greece28.7%
#10?? United Kingdom25.2%

From a regional perspective, Europe leads with nine of the top 10 countries. On the flipside, the Middle East and Africa have the fewest countries reaching the 10% (Read more...)

Visualizing the History of Energy Transitions


This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist


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History of Energy Transitions

The History of Energy Transitions

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Over the last 200 years, how we’ve gotten our energy has changed drastically⁠.

These changes were driven by innovations like the steam engine, oil lamps, internal combustion engines, and the wide-scale use of electricity. The shift from a primarily agrarian global economy to an industrial one called for new sources to provide more efficient energy inputs.

The current energy transition is powered by the realization that avoiding the catastrophic effects of climate change requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This infographic provides historical context for the ongoing shift away from fossil fuels using data from Our World in Data and scientist Vaclav Smil.

Coal and the First Energy Transition

Before the Industrial Revolution, people burned wood and dried manure to heat homes and cook food, while relying on muscle power, wind, and water mills to grind grains. Transportation was aided by using carts driven by horses or other animals.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the prices of firewood and charcoal skyrocketed due to shortages. These were driven by increased consumption from both households and industries as economies grew and became more sophisticated.

Consequently, industrializing economies like the UK needed a new, cheaper source of energy. They turned to coal, marking the beginning of the (Read more...)

The Clean Energy Employment Shift, by 2030


This post is by Omri Wallach from Visual Capitalist


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The Clean Energy Employment Shift Main

The Clean Energy Employment Shift, by 2030

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With many countries and companies pledged to reduce emissions, the clean energy transition seems to be an inevitability. And that transition will undoubtedly have an impact on employment.

New sources of power don’t just require new and updated equipment, they also require people to operate them. And as demand for cleaner fuels shifts attention away from fossil fuels, it’s likely that not every sector will see a net gain of employment.

This graphic shows projected global employment growth in the clean energy sector and related areas, under announced climate pledges as of 2021, as tracked by the IEA’s World Energy Outlook.

Which Sectors Will Gain Jobs By 2030?

In total, the clean energy transition is expected to generate 10.3 million net new jobs around the world by 2030.

Though fuel generation will definitely be affected by the clean energy transition, the biggest impact will be felt in modernizing energy infrastructure:

Clean Energy Jobs By Sector (to 2030)Jobs GainedJobs Lost Net Job Shift 
Efficiency3.2M03.2M
Cars2.6M02.6M
Power generation2.6M-0.3M2.3M
Grids1.6M01.6M
Bioenergy1.2M01.2M
End-use renewables1M01M
Innovative technologies0.9M00.9M
Critical minerals0.2M00.2M
Coal0-0.6M-0.6M
(Read more...)

Ranked: The Top 10 Countries by Energy Transition Investment


This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist


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Energy transition investment

Ranked: The Top 10 Countries by Energy Transition Investment

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More than 130 countries have set or are considering a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Achieving net-zero on a global scale, however, requires $125 trillion in climate investment by 2050, according to research commissioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

While that level of investment hasn’t been achieved yet, it’s ramping up. In 2021, the world spent $755 billion on deploying low-carbon energy technologies, up 27% from the year prior.

This graphic highlights the top 10 countries by low-carbon energy investment in 2021 using data from BloombergNEF.

Energy Transition Investment by Country

The top 10 countries together invested $561 billion in the energy transition, nearly three-fourths of the world total.

Country2021 Energy Transition Investment (US$)% of World Total
China ??$266B35.2%
U.S. ??$114B15.1%
Germany ??$47B6.2%
U.K. ??$31B4.1%
France ??$27B3.6%
Japan ??$26B3.4%
India ??$14B1.9%
South Korea ??$13B1.7%
Brazil ??$12B1.6%
Spain ??$11B1.5%
Total$561B74.3%

China increased its overall energy transition investment by 60% from 2020 levels, further cementing its position as a global leader. The country’s wind and solar capacity increased by 19% in 2021, with electrified transport also accounting for a large portion of the investment.

(Read more...)

Visualizing China’s Dominance in Clean Energy Metals


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


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Visualizing China’s Dominance in Clean Energy Metals

Visualizing China’s Dominance in Clean Energy Metals

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Renewable sources of energy are expected to replace fossil fuels over the coming decades, and this large-scale transition will have a downstream effect on the demand of raw materials. More green energy means more wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries needed, and more clean energy metals necessary to build these technologies.

This visualization, based on data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), illustrates where the extraction and processing of key metals for the green revolution take place.

It shows that despite being the world’s biggest carbon polluter, China is also the largest producer of most of the world’s critical minerals for the green revolution.

Where Clean Energy Metals are Produced

China produces 60% of all rare earth elements used as components in high technology devices, including smartphones and computers.

The country also has a 13% share of the lithium production market, which is still dominated by Australia (52%) and Chile (22%). The highly reactive element is key to producing rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, and electric vehicles.

China's ShareExtractionProcessing
Copper8%40%
Nickel5%35%
Cobalt1.5%65%
Rare Earths60%87%
Lithium13%58%

But even more than extraction, China is the dominant economy when it comes to processing operations. (Read more...)

Mapped: Solar Power by Country in 2021


This post is by Govind Bhutada from Visual Capitalist


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Solar Power by Country

Mapped: Solar Power by Country in 2021

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The world is adopting renewable energy at an unprecedented pace, and solar power is the energy source leading the way.

Despite a 4.5% fall in global energy demand in 2020, renewable energy technologies showed promising progress. While the growth in renewables was strong across the board, solar power led from the front with 127 gigawatts installed in 2020, its largest-ever annual capacity expansion.

The above infographic uses data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to map solar power capacity by country in 2021. This includes both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power capacity.

The Solar Power Leaderboard

From the Americas to Oceania, countries in virtually every continent (except Antarctica) added more solar to their mix last year. Here’s a snapshot of solar power capacity by country at the beginning of 2021:

CountryInstalled capacity, megawattsWatts* per capita% of world total
China ??254,35514735.6%
U.S. ??75,57223110.6%
Japan ??67,0004989.4%
Germany ??53,7835937.5%
India ??39,211325.5%
Italy ??21,6003453.0%
Australia ??17,6276372.5%
Vietnam ??16,504602.3%
South Korea ??14,5752172.0%
Spain ??14,0891862.0%
United Kingdom ??13,5632001.9%
France ??11,7331481.6%
Netherlands ??10,2133961.4%
Brazil ??7,881221.1%
Turkey ?? (Read more...)

Visualizing Copper Demand for Renewables



The following content is sponsored by Teck.

 

copper demand infographic

Visualizing Copper Demand in a Renewables Powered Future

Renewable energy is considered one of the most effective tools to reduce global carbon emissions and fight climate change. However, building technologies like solar and wind power plants or electric vehicles (EVs) can be a mineral-intensive process.

Copper is considered an essential metal for renewables. The metal is highly conductive, can easily be shaped into pipes, wires, or sheets, and can remove heat far more rapidly than other metals. In fact, copper itself is a sustainable material. The metal is 100% recyclable and can be used repeatedly without any loss of performance.

The above infographic from Teck highlights how global copper demand in both the clean power and the clean transport sectors is expected to double in the next decades.

The Wind and Solar Boom

Copper has long been a common component in most electrical wiring, power generation, transmission, distribution, and circuitry because of its high conductivity and durability.

New energy technologies, however, require even more copper. Photovoltaics (PV) solar power systems contain approximately 5 tonnes (t) per megawatt (MW) of copper, while grid energy storage installations rely on 2.7 to 3.6t per MW.

YearPower Grids (t)EV Batteries (t)Wind (t)Solar (t)EV Charging (t)                   
20201.7M210K165K83K4.2K
20211.7M303K143K85K6.1K
20221.8M454K207K79K (Read more...)

Uranium: Powering the Cleanest Source of Energy



The following content is sponsored by the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust

Uranium: Powering the Cleanest Source of Energy

The world’s energy needs are growing with its population. However, achieving a net-zero carbon economy while meeting our growing energy needs requires a larger role for clean, sustainable, and reliable sources. Nuclear is one such energy source.

The above graphic from the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust highlights how uranium is powering one of the cleanest and most reliable sources of energy in nuclear power.

The Cleanest Energy Sources

Although all energy sources have tradeoffs, some are better for the environment than others.

To find the cleanest sources of energy, Our World in Data calculated CO2-equivalent emissions per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity generated over the lifecycle of power plants for different energy sources. This includes the footprint of raw materials, transport, and construction of power plants.

Energy SourceCO2-equivalent Emissions Per GWh (tonnes)Type
Coal820Fossil fuel
Oil720Fossil fuel
Natural Gas490Fossil fuel
Biomass78-230*Non-renewable
Hydro34Renewable
Solar5Renewable
Wind4Renewable
Nuclear3Non-renewable

*Emissions from biomass vary depending on the type of fuel combusted.

It’s not surprising that coal, oil, and natural gas plants emit much more greenhouse gases than their renewable and non-renewable counterparts. In fact, emissions per GWh from coal power plants are roughly 273 times higher than nuclear power plants.

Hydropower offers a cleaner and renewable alternative to fossil fuels, however, the concrete and materials used in (Read more...)

Visualizing China’s Energy Transition in 5 Charts


This post is by Bruno Venditti from Visual Capitalist


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Visualizing China’s Energy Transition in 5 Charts

Visualizing China’s Energy Transition in 5 Charts

In September 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping announced the steps his nation would take to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 via videolink before the United Nations Assembly in New York.

This infographic takes a look at what this ambitious plan for China’s energy would look like and what efforts are underway towards this goal.

China’s Ambitious Plan

A carbon-neutral China requires changing the entire economy over the next 40 years, a change the IEA compares to the ambition of the reforms that industrialized the country’s economy in the first place.

China is the world’s largest consumer of electricity, well ahead of the second place consumer, the United States. Currently, 80% of China’s energy comes from fossil fuels, but this plan envisions only 14% coming from coal, oil, and natural gas in 2060.

Energy Source20252060% Change
Coal52%3%-94%
Oil18%8%-56%
Natural Gas10%3%-70%
Wind4%24%+500%
Nuclear3%19%+533%
Biomass2%5%+150%
Solar3%23%+667%
Hydro8%15%+88%

Source: Tsinghua University Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy; U.S. EIA

According to the Carbon Brief, China’s 14th five-year plan appears to enshrine Xi’s goal. This plan outlines a general and non specific list of projects for a new energy system. It includes the construction of eight large-scale clean energy centers, coastal nuclear power, electricity transmission routes, power system flexibility, (Read more...)

Visualizing the Flow of U.S. Energy Consumption


This post is by Niccolo Conte from Visual Capitalist


America Energy Consumption 2020

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Breaking Down America’s Energy Consumption in 2020

The United States relies on a complex mix of energy sources to fuel the country’s various end-sectors’ energy consumption.

While this energy mix is still dominated by fossil fuels, there are signs of a steady shift to renewable energy over the past decade.

This radial Sankey diagram using data from the EIA (Energy Information Administration) breaks down U.S. energy consumption in 2020, showing us how much each sector relies on various energy sources.

The Balance of Energy Production and Consumption

In 2019 and now in 2020, America’s domestic energy production has actually been greater than its consumption—a development that hasn’t taken place since 1957.

Last year’s numbers were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing a 5% drop in energy production and a 7% drop in consumption compared to 2019. Total energy production and consumption for 2020 came in at 95.75 and 92.94 quads respectively.

The energy amounts are equalized and measured in quadrillion BTUs (British thermal units), also known as quads. A quad is a huge amount (Read more...)