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Which Countries Are Leading The Way In Renewable Energy?

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Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have adopted an exponential growth since 1900, with current emission level hovering around 10,000 million metric tons of carbon. Addressing this challenge can only be effective by ditching the most widely used source of energy, fossil fuels, which contributes to about 78% of the total greenhouse gas emission increase within the last four decades. A shift to renewable energy is the only way forward; a means of dropping the volume of greenhouse gasses and every country is charged to respond in this global fight against total doom of our ecosystem.

China, European Union, India, Russia, Japan and the United States are among the countries with the most significant carbon emission. China alone is emitting about 30% of the global carbon emission, the US accounts for around 15%, and India responsible for 7% of the total global carbon emission, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. This statistics reveals a necessary skew that must be demonstrated in the global fight to achieve any positive effect, as some countries are barely noticed as emitters. In this case, high emitters must lead the transition if we intend putting up a good fight for a significant cut down in the greenhouse gas emission. Now, how are we fairing? Which countries are leading the transition chase?

India

An optimistic forecast can be derived from India’s commitment to tackling grid-integration and financial issues of its utilities. Renewable electricity capacity in India is expected to grow in three folds by 2022, up to “175 GW of energy from renewable sources,” that’s far more significant than renewable energy prospects in European Union. And India currently has approximately 61 GW of renewable energy. Most of India’s growth capacity in renewable energy is expected to be triggered by auctions set to lower the price of wind farms and solar PV, which should represent 90% of the country’s renewable energy capacity expansion. India’s 648-megawatt Kamuthi Solar Power Project built in 2016 is currently the world’s second-largest solar project, after China’s 850-megawatt Longyangxia Dam Solar Park.

The United States

Topaz Solar Park Renewable Energy

Image: Topaz Solar Park

Until 2016, the largest solar project in the world was California's 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm. Renewable energy projects in the US suffered a decline in 2017, about 6% drop. As at 2016, renewable energy accounted for about 12.2 % of the total energy consumed in the country. It remains the second-largest growth market for renewable energy projects despite facing challenges of policy uncertainties last year. From the ongoing projects, the US is expected to have a total of about 206.2 Gigawatts of renewable energy by 2019.

China

Longyangxia Dam Solar Park renewable energy

Image: Longyangxia Dam Solar Park

By far, China is leading the way in renewable energy. The country experienced an extraordinary solar boom in 2017 when it invested a total of $126.6 billion, almost half of the global investments in renewable energy ($279.8 billion). That paid a huge price for the nation’s renewable energy sources. Last year, China installed a total of 53GW solar power; this includes the world’s largest solar station, 850-megawatt Longyangxia Dam Solar Park. The country alone is responsible for more than 40% of the global growth in renewable energy capacity. China is also leading the market in electricity generation from bioenergy, hydropower, heat, and electric vehicles. The country recorded a total of 378 GW of renewable power in 2013, and by 2022, China is expecting to have up to 740 GW of renewable energy.

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