Global Renewable Trends

An ever-changing picture

See the evolution in renewable power using the map below to review over two decades of data, specific to individual countries from all corners of the globe. Slide the year rule to reveal either the percentage share of renewables in electricity production around the world or the annual growth – from year to year – in renewable electricity capacity by country. Choose which to view from the dropdown menu above the map. 

Sources: Percentage share of renewables in electricity production from EnerdataWorld Energy Statistics Yearbook, 2018, except Ireland and Denmark which is the renewables share as a proportion of electricity consumption from SEAI (for Ireland) and EUROSTAT. The percentage growth in renewable capacity is taken from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA, Abu Dhabi, 2018), Renewable capacity statistics 2018.   


The clean energy sector is going from strength to strength, driven by falling prices, technological advances and increased ambition from governments around the world to decarbonize their economies.

The amount of renewable energy generation capacity installed globally grew by 167 GW in 2017, to a total of 2,179 GW, according to figures published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2018.

The 8.3% increase, continues a seven-year trend of 8%-9% growth. – IRENA

As a proportion of overall generation, renewables accounted for 24% in 2016, according to the latest figures available from Enerdata’s energy yearbook.

The dynamic map above shows the countries that are leading the way. Norway is the global leader, with almost of all of the electricity generated in the country coming from renewables.  Also in the Nordics, renewables provided over 50% of all electricity consumed in Denmark in 2016, while renewables produced 57% of all electricity generated in Sweden.

Elsewhere in Europe, Portugal stands out as a renewables pioneer, with 55% of generated electricity coming from renewables, primarily from hydropower and wind.

Germany, closely associated with the shift to renewables, has rapidly grown its renewables share over a decade from 5% in 1996 to 30%.

Around the world, countries where renewables account for over half of electricity generation include Canada, Brazil, Colombia and New Zealand – all countries where hydroelectricity has an important role in power generation.

Growth Areas

Off-grid renewable capacity has grown to now serve over 140 million customers and the number of companies procuring renewable energy directly has increased by 1 GW of power since 2016.

In 2017, China added 77.6 GW of capacity, to reach a world-leading total capacity of 618,803 MW. 

India accounted for 10% of new global generation, with large potential for future growth. As the map shows, in 2016 renewable electricity was just under 15% of total Indian production.

Renewable Sources

Globally, hydro accounts for the largest share of the global total. However, growth rates for hydro are almost flat – just 2% in 2017 – as many of the best sites are already taken.

There is currently 1,152 GW of installed hydropower capacity, along with 119 GW from pumped storage.

It was in wind and solar power that the most impressive growth rates were seen: the amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity grew by 94 GW, almost a third in a single year, while the amount of wind energy capacity increased 10%, to 514 GW.

A new report for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that more money went into solar power in 2017 than into coal, gas and nuclear power combined.