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Lack of regulation a ‘key obstacle’ to renewable investment

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Research from Downing LLP has identified liquidity constraints and insufficient regulation as the key barriers to investment in renewable energy for UK pension funds, other institutional investors and wealth managers.

Downing offers both institutional and retail investors the opportunity to invest in renewable energy and other infrastructure in the UK and northern Europe.

A survey of 100 UK professional investors, who collectively manage around £118 billion in assets under management, reveals 75% say a lack of liquidity in certain areas of the renewable energy sector is the main barrier to investment. Seventy per cent say regulation needs to improve while the same number cite high costs as an obstacle to investment in renewables.

More than half (54%) say there is not enough transparency in the renewable energy asset class, while 31% say there is a lack of track record or data in certain areas.

Nearly all (94%) of institutional investors and wealth managers say the renewable energy sector will become more attractive in the next three years, with 45% saying it will be much more so and 49% saying slightly more attractive.

When asked to pick their top three reasons for the sector becoming more attractive to investors, almost three-quarters (71%) highlight the macro-economic environment e.g., high inflation and more volatility. At the same time, half cite a predicted fall in fixed income yields.

Some six out of ten professional investors (61%) include expected regulatory changes, encouraging decarbonisation in their top three factors, making renewables more appealing to investors.

Nearly half (46%) include tougher regulation against oil and gas companies in their top three reasons.

Liquidity too is expected to improve with 62% of respondents anticipating more investment opportunities in renewable energy.

Tom Williams, Head of Energy & Infrastructure at Downing and manager of Downing Renewables & Infrastructure Trust, said: “Renewable energy is gaining more importance to institutional investors and wealth managers as they consider the climate change risk to their portfolio. However, the asset class needs to be more transparent, lower cost and be supported by appropriate regulation. Transparency is one of the key reasons why Downing Renewables & Infrastructure Trust chose to become an Article 9 fund.”

Renewables dominated global power additions in 2021

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that renewable energy continued to grow and gain momentum despite global uncertainties.

By the end of 2021, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 3 064 Gigawatt (GW), increasing the stock of renewable power by 9.1 per cent.

Although hydropower accounted for the largest share of the global total renewable generation capacity with 1 230 GW, IRENA’s Renewable Capacity Statistics 2022 shows that solar and wind continued to dominate new generating capacity. Together, both technologies contributed 88 per cent to the share of all new renewable capacity in 2021. Solar capacity led with 19 per cent increase, followed by wind energy, which increased its generating capacity by 13 per cent.

IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera, said: “This continued progress is another testament of renewable energy’s resilience. Its strong performance last year represents more opportunities for countries to reap renewables’ multiple socio-economic benefits. However, despite the encouraging global trend, our new World Energy Transitions Outlook shows that the energy transition is far from being fast or widespread enough to avert the dire consequences of climate change.”

“Our current energy crisis also adds to the evidence that the world can no longer rely on fossil fuels to meet its energy demand. Money directed to fossil fuel power plants yields unrewarding results, both for the survival of a nation and the planet. Renewable power should become the norm across the globe. We must mobilise the political will to accelerate the 1.5°C pathway.”

To achieve climate goals, renewables must grow at a faster pace than energy demand. However, many countries have not reached this point yet, despite significantly increasing the use of renewables for electricity generation.

Sixty per cent of the new capacity in 2021 was added in Asia, resulting in a total of 1.46 Terawatt (TW) of renewable capacity by 2021. China was the biggest contributor, adding 121 GW to the continent’s new capacity. Europe and North America—led by the USA—took second and third places respectively, with the former adding 39 GW, and the latter 38 GW. Renewable energycapacity grew by 3.9 per cent in Africa and 3.3 per cent in Central America and the Caribbean. Despite representing steady growth, the pace in both regions is much slower than the global average, indicating the need for stronger international cooperation to optimise electricity markets and drive massive investments in those regions.

Highlights by technology:

  • Hydropower: Growth in hydro increased steadily in 2021 with the commissioning of several large projects delayed through 2021.
  • Wind energy: Wind expansion continued at a lower rate in 2021 compared to 2020

(+93 GW compared to +111 GW last year).

  • Solar energy: With an increase in new capacity in all major world regions in previous years, total global solar capacity has now outgrown wind energy capacity.
  • Bioenergy: Net capacity expansion increased in 2021 (+10.3 GW compared to +9.1 GW in 2020).
  • Geothermal energy: Geothermal capacity had an exceptional growth in 2021, with 1.6 GW added.
  • Off-grid electricity: Off-grid capacity grew by 466 MW in 2021 (+4%) to reach 11.2 GW.

Read the full Renewable Capacity Statistics 2022 including the highlights, here.

APAC to lead global battery energy storage market

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is set to lead the global battery energy storage market, accounting for 68% of the global market value through 2026, with China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia propelling the regional market.

That’s according to GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Battery Energy Storage Market Size, Share and Trends Analysis by Technology, Installed Capacity, Generation, Drivers, Constraints, Key Players and Forecast, 2021-2026’, which reveals that the global market for the battery energy storage is estimated to grow to $10.84bn in 2026, out of which APAC will account for $7.33bn.

Bhavana Sri Pullagura, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Fall in battery technology prices, increasing need for grid stability and resilience of the integration of renewable power in the power market are some major factors that contribute to the growth.”

China, one of the fastest-growing economies, is expected to lead the global battery energy storage market with $4.04bn in 2026. A mammoth target of 1,200 GW of wind and solar capacity will provide considerable growth opportunities to the energy storage market over the forecast period.

China, South Korea, the US, Germany, and the UK will be the major markets on the back of supportive regulations and incentives.

Pullagura added: “The rapid growth in demand for electricity and the wider use of renewable integration will keep the demand for battery energy storage market buoyant in other countries, leading to a significant growth in the market over the forecast period. Grid transformations, improving electrification rates, and electricity provisions for the rapidly growing population will create market opportunities.”

Over the last decade, various new digital and smart technologies have been integrated. Countries have been aggressively promoting the modernization of grids and enhancing the grids’ capability to meet the requirements of the present and future. Additionally, batteries are being deployed to aid smart grids, integrate renewables, create responsive electricity markets, provide ancillary services, and enhance both system resilience and energy self-sufficiency.

Pullagura concluded: “GlobalData believes that encouraging policies and high electricity charges are also nudging the market to renewables and/or storage plus renewables at the end consumer level. As the power sector evolves to accommodate new technologies and adapt to varying market trends, energy storage will play a crucial role in the transition and transformation of the power sector.”

At 590 the UK has second-highest number of B Corps

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Research by green energy experts Uswitch has revealed Moodle, an online educational platform designed for distance learning, is the world’s most popular B Corp business, followed by Coursera and TOMS.

B Corp certification is awarded to businesses that meet the highest standards of accountability when it comes to their social and environmental impact, and there are now almost 5,000 B Corp businesses officially achieving B Corp Certification in the world.

The Most Searched For Sustainable Brands

The social and environmental impact of the products we buy, and the companies we buy them from, is now more important than ever to consumers. So, to discover which sustainable businesses are the most well-known around the world, researchers analysed Google search data, to reveal which ones consumers are Googling the most.

Moodle tops the list with over 53.5 million global searches each year. The Australian-based company is hailed as the world’s most popular learning management system and was crucial throughout the pandemic when classrooms were closed.

Coursera, the open online course provider that works with universities to offer qualifications, is second on the list with 35.9 million global annual searches, followed by the sustainable shoewear brand TOMS in third place, receiving over 14.9 million searches every year.

Popular brands such as premium ice-cream manufacturers Ben & Jerry’s and the world’s first carbon-neutral brewery BrewDog also appear in the top 15 most popular B Corp businesses list, ranking in seventh and 15th place respectively.

Top 15 Most Popular B Corps

Rank Company Name Annual search volume
1 Moodle Pty Ltd 53,550,000
2 Coursera 35,930,000
3 TOMS 14,920,000
4 Redbox 14,480,000
5 Athleta, Inc. 13,643,000
6 Warby Parker 11,335,000
7 Ben and Jerry’s 10,281,000
8 Kickstarter PBC 10,257,000
9 Envato 9,384,000
10 Boomera 8,403,000
11 Nature et Decouvertes 6,555,000
12 Vestiaire collective 5,736,000
13 Rentcars LTDA 4,812,000
14 Allbirds, Inc. 4,781,000
15 BrewDog 4,688,000

The Most Searched For Sustainable Food and Drink Brands

The research also looked at food and drinks organisations that have been recognised by B Corp – it reveals the American ice-cream manufacturer, Ben & Jerry’s, is the most popular sustainable food and drink brand in the world with over 10.2 million searches every year.

Scottish-founded BrewDog is the second most popular food and drinks B Corp business, with 4,688,000 searches every year, followed by Thrive Market, the membership-based retailer selling purely organic and natural food products, in third place.

The top five is made up of two subscription services; the UK-based meat delivery company ButcherBox is fourth, and Gousto is fifth with over 2.4 million searches.

Top 10 Most Popular Food & Drink B Corps

Rank Company Name Annual search volume
1 Ben & Jerry’s 10,281,000
2 BrewDog 4,688,000
3 Thrive Market 3,669,000
4 ButcherBox 2,737,000
5 Gousto 2,447,000
6 NATURALIA 2,104,000
7 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams 1,719,700
8 Alpro (Alpro SCA) 1,286,500
9 Mindful Chef 1,240,500
10 Tony’s Chocolonely 1,149,000

The Countries With the Most B Corp Certified Businesses

From Australia to Zambia, there are B Corp certified businesses all over the world, and the research also reveals the countries with the most certified B Corps. The United States takes the top spot, with 1,418 in total, followed by the United Kingdom with 590, and then Canada with 323.

Although it might not be a surprise that the USA is on top given the size of the country, it is worth noting that the process to become recognised by B Corp and receive the certification is very tough and incredibly thorough, so it’s only handed out to organisations who really are making a difference.

Top 10 countries with the most certified B Corps 

Rank Countries Total number of certified B Corps
1 United States 1418
2 United Kingdom 590
3 Canada 323
4 Australia 296
5 Brazil 181
6 Chile 136
7 France 151
8 Italy 134
9 The Netherlands 126
10 Argentina 119

To read the full research, please visit: https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/most-popular-bcorps/

UK ranks third amongst the countries that have reduced emissions the most

960 640 Stuart O'Brien
The United Kingdom is one of the few countries that managed to actually reduce their CO2 emissions in the last 60 years.
The report by Utility Bidder analyses various countries’ emissions from 1959 and 2019, to reveal who has made the most cuts to their emissions, and predict who will be the worst offenders for co2 emissions in 2032.
Top five countries that have cut emissions the most

Rank

Country

1959 emissions (MtCO2)

2019 emissions (MtCO2)

Annual change

Estimated 2032 emissions (MtCO2)

1

Curaçao

11.0

3.7

-1.78%

2.8

2

Moldova

11.0

7.3

-0.66%

6.7

3

the United Kingdom

545.9

370.1

-0.64%

339.5

4

Ukraine

256.5

223.5

-0.23%

217.0

5

Germany

754.8

703.5

-0.12%

692.9

Only five of the 93 nations saw their emissions decrease in the last 60 years, with the Caribbean island of Curaçao achieving the biggest decrease at -1.78% per year.
Moldova’s emissions have fallen by an average of 0.66% over the last 60 years. if they continue to do so at the same rate, they’ll have fallen to 6.7 MtCO2 by 2032.
Whilst still being one of the countries with the highest emissions, the UK has seen its emissions fall in the last 60 years, from 545.9 MtCO2 in 1959 to 370.1 MtCO2 in 2019.
The countries with the biggest emissions increase 

Rank

Country

1959 emissions (MtCO2)

2019 emissions (MtCO2)

Annual change

Estimated 2032 emissions (MtCO2)

1

Saudi Arabia

3.7

582.6

8.66%

1,238.8

2

Thailand

3.7

289.5

7.43%

568.9

3

Malaysia

3.7

249.2

7.16%

481.1
Saudi Arabia’s emissions grew by  578.9 MtCO2 over the last 60 years, and the annual change is estimated at 8.66%. This increase is expected given the country’s role as the leader in the world’s petroleum industry.
Thailand Increased its emissions by 285.8 MtCO2 since 1959, so it could hit 568.9 MtCO2 by 2032. It is largely due to the simultaneous economy and population growth that the country experienced over the last 60 years.
Malaysia Increased its emissions by 245.5 MtCO2, meaning it could hit 481.1 MtCO2 by 2032.
Further findings: 
The countries with the lowest estimated 2032 emissions:
  • As well as being the country that has cut its emissions the most since 1959, Curaçao is also the nation that has the lowest predicted emissions by 2032, at just 2.8 MtCO2.

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo is at the second-lowest estimated emissions, reaching 3.7 MtCO2 by 2032. The DRC is also home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, which acts as a carbon sink.

  • Moldova has the third-lowest estimated emissions for 2032, with 6.7 MtCO2.

School kids want to see more renewables usage post COP26

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Young people (aged 6-15) across the UK want to see more clean energy powering the country and people taking personal responsibility to protect the planet, including the use of more renewables in schools.

The call for a cleaner and greener future came from independent YouGov research commissioned by ScottishPower Renewables during the United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow last month.

YouGov asked over 1,000 British children aged 6 – 15 years for their thoughts on UK climate action and what was needed to tackle the climate crisis.

More than three-quarters (81 per cent) of those responding called for more renewable energy to be used, while 58 per cent said it was up to “everyone” to make sure the planet is protected.

Young people surveyed also said COP26 had inspired them to take action themselves to help the environment, with 53 per cent committing to recycling more and over one third (35 per cent) saying they would ditch the car in favour of active travel options like cycling and walking.

And they called on schools to take action too, with demands for the introduction of more wind turbines and solar panels to power their schools (59%) and more lessons about climate change (42%).

The YouGov findings echo feedback from secondary school pupils who took part in ScottishPower Renewables’ COP26 ‘Let’s Talk Energy’ event, where green jobs and more investment to create clean energy were identified as what’s needed to deliver a low-carbon future.

Lindsay McQuade, CEO of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “As a Principal Partner for COP26 and lead for the conference’s youth theme, ScottishPower recognises the importance of listening to young people.  Every action taken today will impact their future and it’s vital that they therefore have their say on what they want for a cleaner and greener future.

“This survey shows that children and young people understand the climate emergency and recognise that renewable energy has a crucial part to play as we move forward, electrify our lives and reduce our carbon footprint. We fully support the call for more renewable energy and we’re doing everything we can to make it happen – investing almost £4 billion to double our current renewables capacity by 2025, with plans to treble it by 2030.

“Importantly, the survey also shows that young people know we all have the power to make a real difference to the environment by making changes in how we live our lives. Whether that’s in how we travel around, the food we eat or the clothes we wear – it all matters – and it’s great that COP is inspiring such positive action from young people.

“With human behaviour responsible for many of the changes to our planet, the only way we’ll be successful in tackling the climate emergency is by everyone joining in and doing their bit. Young people understand that – it’s something we can all learn from and something that can give us all hope for a clean energy future.”

As part of its COP26 education programme, ScottishPower Renewables is also working with Glasgow Science Centre on a Renewables Challenge for 124 primary schools and 10 secondary schools. Through the programme pupils learn about COP26, renewable energy, green jobs and going carbon neutral.

Renewable energy employing 12 million globally

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Renewable energy employment worldwide reached 12 million last year, up from 11.5 million in 2019, according to the eighth edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs: Annual Review 2021.

The report was released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) at a high-level opening of IRENA’s Collaborative Framework on Just and Inclusive Transitions, co-facilitated by the United States and South Africa.

The report confirms that COVID-19 caused delays and supply chain disruptions, with impacts on jobs varying by country and end use, and among segments of the value chain. While solar and wind jobs continued leading global employment growth in the renewable energy sector, accounting for a total of  4 million and 1.25 million jobs respectively, liquid biofuels employment decreased as demand for transport fuels fell. Off-grid solar lighting sales suffered, but companies were able to limit job losses.

China commanded a 39% share of renewable energy jobs worldwide in 2020, followed by Brazil, India, the United States, and members of the European Union. Many other countries are also creating jobs in renewables. Among them are Viet Nam and Malaysia, key solar PV exporters; Indonesia and Colombia, with large agricultural supply chains for biofuels; and Mexico and the Russian Federation, where wind power is growing. In Sub-Saharan Africa, solar jobs are expanding in diverse countries like Nigeria, Togo, and South Africa.

“Renewable energy’s ability to create jobs and meet climate goals is beyond doubt. With COP26 in front of us, governments must raise their ambition to reach net zero,” says Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General. “The only path forward is to increase investments in a just and inclusive transition, reaping the full socioeconomic benefits along the way.”

“The potential for renewable energy to generate decent work is a clear indication that we do not have to choose between environmental sustainability on the one hand, and employment creation on the other. The two can go hand-in-hand,” said ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder.

Recognising that women suffered more from the pandemic because they tend to work in sectors more vulnerable to economic shocks, the report highlights the importance of a just transition and decent jobs for all, ensuring that jobs pay a living wage, workplaces are safe, and rights at work are respected. A just transition requires a workforce that is diverse – with equal chances for women and men, and with career paths open to youth, minorities, and marginalised groups. International Labour Standards and collective bargaining arrangements are crucial in this context.

Fulfilling the renewable energy jobs potential will depend on ambitious policies to drive the energy transition in coming decades. In addition to deployment, enabling, and integrating policies for the sector itself, there is a need to overcome structural barriers in the wider economy and minimise potential misalignments between job losses and gains during the transition.

Indeed, IRENA and ILO’s work finds that more jobs will be gained by the energy transition than lost. An ILO global sustainability scenario to 2030 estimates that the 24-25 million new jobs will far surpass losses of between six and seven million jobs. Some five million of the workers who lose their jobs will be able to find new jobs in the same occupation in another industry. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook forecasts that the renewable energy sector could employ 43 million by 2050.

The disruption to cross-border supplies caused by COVID-19 restrictions has highlighted the important role of domestic value chains. Strengthening them will facilitate local job creation and income generation, by leveraging existing and new economic activities. IRENA’s work on leveraging local supply chains offers insights into the types of jobs needed to support the transition by technology, segment of the value chain, educational and occupational requirements.

This will require industrial policies to form viable supply chains; education and training strategies to create a skilled workforce; active labour market measures to provide adequate employment services; retraining and recertification together with social protection to assist workers and communities dependent on fossil fuels; and public investment strategies to support regional economic development and diversification.

Read the full report here.

IAEA predicts increase in nuclear power capacity in latest outlook

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

For the first time since the Fukushima Daiichi accident a decade ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revised up its projections of the potential growth of nuclear power capacity for electricity generation during the coming decades.

The change in the IAEA’s annual outlook for this low-carbon energy source does not yet mark a new trend, but it comes as the world aims to move away from fossil fuels to fight climate change. Many countries are considering the introduction of nuclear power to boost reliable and clean energy production.

In the high case scenario of its new outlook, the IAEA now expects world nuclear generating capacity to double to 792 gigawatts (net electrical) by 2050 from 393 GW(e) last year. Compared with the previous year’s high case projection of 715 GW(e) by 2050, the estimate has been revised up by just over 10%.

However, the realization of the IAEA’s high case scenario would require significant actions, including an accelerated implementation of innovative nuclear technologies. The low case projections indicate that world nuclear capacity by 2050 would remain essentially the same as now, at 392 GW(e).

“The new IAEA projections show that nuclear power will continue to play an indispensable role in low carbon energy production,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. “The report’s findings represent an encouraging sign of increasing awareness that nuclear power, which emits no carbon dioxide during operation, is absolutely vital in our efforts to achieve net zero emissions.”

According to the report, the 2021 projections reflect growing recognition of climate change issues and the importance of nuclear power in reducing emissions from electricity generation. Commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement could support nuclear power development if the necessary energy policies and market designs facilitate investments in dispatchable, low-carbon technologies.

The IAEA’s high case projections of a doubling of nuclear capacity by 2050 are close to the International Energy Agency’s projections in the publication “Net Zero by 2050 – A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector” from May this year.

As global electricity generation is expected to double over the next three decades, nuclear power generating capacity would need to expand significantly to maintain its current share of the mix.

According to the IAEA’s high case projection, nuclear energy could contribute about 12% of global electricity by 2050, up from 11% in last year’s 2050 highcase projections. Nuclear power generated around 10% of the world’s electricity in 2020. The low case scenario was unchanged with a projected share of 6% for nuclear in the total electricity generation. Coal remains the dominant energy source for electricity production at about 37% for 2020, changing little since 1980.

New low-carbon technologies such as nuclear hydrogen production or small and advanced reactors will be crucial to achieving net zero. Nuclear power could provide solutions for electricity consumption growth, air quality concerns, and the security of energy supply. Many innovations for the expanded use of nuclear techniques in related areas such as heat or hydrogen production are underway.

Ageing management programmes and long term operation are being implemented for an increasing number of reactors. About two-thirds of nuclear power reactors have been in operation for over 30 years. Despite the operation of several NPPs having been extended to 60 and even 80 years, significant new nuclear capacity to offset retirements is needed in the long term. Many new power plants will be needed to maintain nuclear power’s current role in the energy mix. Uncertainty remains regarding the replacement of these reactors, particularly in Europe and North America.

68m more trees required for UK to offset its carbon emissions

960 640 Stuart O'Brien
The UK needs to plant 68.4 million trees to offset its carbon emissions and North Lincolnshire has the highest number to plant with almost 1.5 million trees required annually.
That’s according to a study conducted CompareTheMarket.com, which analyses annual emissions from 379 local authorities (342,004,200 tCO2) in the UK to calculate the number of trees needed every year to counteract their total carbon footprint (68,400,840 trees).
Local authorities that would need to plant the most trees: 

Rank

Local authority

Region

Annual emissions (tCO2)

Annual trees needed to offset carbon footprint

1

North Lincolnshire

Yorkshire and the Humber

7,445,200

1,489,040

2

Neath Port Talbot

Wales

6,505,800

1,301,160

3

Birmingham

West Midlands

4,129,400

825,880

4

Leeds

Yorkshire and the Humber

3,904,900

780,980

5

Cheshire West and Chester

North West

3,620,400

724,080

6

High Peak

East Midlands

2,832,900

566,580

7

Fife

Scotland

2,804,900

560,980

8

Wiltshire

South West

2,694,500

538,900

9

Cornwall

South West

2,690,900

538,180

10

East Riding of Yorkshire

Yorkshire and the Humber

2,660,900

532,180

North Lincolnshire is the local authority that requires the highest number of trees to offset its CO2 emissions as it’s home to the Tata-owned Appleby-Frodingham steel plant, one of the largest and most successful steelworks in Europe. With annual emissions of 7,445,200 tCO2, the area needs to plant 1,489,040 trees to make it carbon neutral.

Neath Port Talbot followed in second place, needing 1,301,160 trees to offset their carbon emissions of 6,505,800 tCO2.

Two of the country’s major cities filled the next two spots as Birmingham and Leeds took third and fourth place respectively.

Local authorities that would need to plant the least trees: 

Rank

Local authority

Region

Emissions (tCO2)

Annual trees needed to offset carbon footprint

1

Isles of Scilly

South West

9,400

1,880

2

Argyll and Bute

Scotland

57,500

11,500

3

Oadby and Wigston

East Midlands

179,300

35,860

4

Highland

Scotland

190,200

38,040

5

Orkney Islands

Scotland

192,400

38,480
You can read the entire entire study here.

Norway leading the way on renewable and UK slips behind

960 640 Stuart O'Brien
Research has found Norway is the world leader in renewable energy use, making up 56% of its total energy supply, while the UK ranks 20th as renewable energy only accounts for 13%.
A study by energy tariff comparison platform Utility Bidder has revealed which countries rely the most on fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) renewable energy (hydropower, biofuels and waste, wind and solar) and also nuclear energy to reveal the distribution of energy sources around the world.
The top 5 countries with the highest share of renewable energy

Rank

Country

Total energy supply (ktoe)

Renewable energy supply (ktoe)

Renewable energy as % of total supply

1

Norway

23,753

13,308

56%

2

Brazil

289,130

133,460

46%

3

New Zealand

20,589

8,641

42%

4

Sweden

49,204

20,115

41%

4

Denmark

16,011

6,529

41%

5

Finland

32,031

11,866

37%

20

UK

169,543

22,842

13%

Norway uses the biggest share of renewable energy in the world, making up 56% of its total energy supply. It also utilises hydropower more than any other country as that accounts for 45% of its supply alone. The country is known for being experts in the field of hydroelectricity with many steep valleys and rivers, as well as increased rainfall due to climate change, meaning hydroelectricity is a fruitful opportunity.

With the second highest supply of renewable energy, Brazil is also the leader in biofuel and waste energy, which accounts for 32% of its total energy supply. Brazil is the second-largest producer of ethanol fuel and is an industry leader, with its sugarcane-based ethanol being touted as the most successful alternative fuel to date, based on advanced agri-industrial technology.

Renewable energy sources in total account for 42% of New Zealand’s energy supply. It is also the world leader in wind and solar energy which makes up 25% of New Zealand’s energy supply. Situated in the path of the ‘Roaring Forties’, a set of strong and constant westerly winds, the nation is perfectly positioned for wind power and enjoys plenty of sunshine for solar energy too, as well as having an increasing market for solar hot water heating systems.

The top 5 countries with the highest share of fossil fuels

Rank

Country

Total energy supply (ktoe)

Fossil fuel energy supply (ktoe)

Fossil fuels as % of total supply

1

Singapore

37,752

37,062

98%

2

Australia

132,431

122,927

93%

3

South Africa

134,645

122,398

91%

4

Luxembourg

3,453

3,122

90%

4

Netherlands

70,715

63,733

90%

4

Morocco

20,295

18,260

90%

5

Mexico

184,021

164,657

89%

18 UK
169,543
132,062
78%

Singapore relies on fossil fuels more than any other country, with 98% of its total energy supply coming from traditional fuel sources. It uses the highest proportion of oil in the world relative to total energy supply, as oil makes up 73% of Singapore’s supply. It is home to major oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, due to its ideal trading location and perceived safe environment.

Australia follows closely behind as the second most reliant on fossil fuels as this makes up 93% of its total energy supply. It is relatively evenly split between coal, oil and natural gas as each accounts for 31%, 33% and 29% of the total energy supply respectively.

While being the third most reliant on fossil fuels, South Africa also uses the highest proportion of coal in the world standing at 73% of its total supply. This is largely because coal is one of the most affordable fuel sources, but also due to a lack of real alternatives in the country too.

The Netherlands ranks joint fourth overall and also has the highest supply of natural gas than any other country, standing at 45% of its total energy supply. Fifty percent of this comes from the Groningen gas field, the largest gas field in Europe, however, the Dutch government has committed to stop regular production from the Groningen field by 2022.

The top 5 countries with the highest share of nuclear energy

Rank

Country

Total energy supply (ktoe)

Nuclear energy supply (ktoe)

Nuclear energy as % of total supply

1

France

246,349

103,966

42%

2

Sweden

49,204

17,349

35%

3

Switzerland

24,884

6,916

28%

4

Slovakia

16,318

4,110

25%

5

Belgium

55,162

11,341

21%

12 UK
169,543
14,639
9%

France is the leading country when it comes to nuclear energy, making up 42% of its energy supply, with 56 operational nuclear reactors producing 103,966 ktoe – the second largest amount produced, just behind the USA which produces 219,737 kote of nuclear energy which equates to 10% of its energy share.