There are many measures by which to go by when it comes to interpreting statistics and making top-lists. This is no different in the energy sector where there’s always a caveat, or you have to ask yourself what’s really being studied. Though I think we can all agree that high rates of renewable energy generation are a good thing; we shouldn’t lose sight of the overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible.
Fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emitting electricity production isn’t going away any time soon, and as you’ll see, many the top renewable countries in this list have made it to this position thanks to their geography; putting them in an advantaged position.
Size also matters. Many of the countries that are able to claim 100% renewable energy generation are very small countries population wise, with little energy needs compared to other, larger, countries, giving them an advantage of scale. Though, one country on the list (the Democratic Republic of Congo) is an exception to this and its status of being 100% renewable is not enviable with a mere 13.5% electrification rate. The other countries on this list come close to 100% electrification rates.
Achieving 100% renewable energy generation is not an easy task; and certainly not one that every country in the world may readily be able to achieve. In fact, only four countries produced 100% of their electricity from renewable sources representing less than 100 million people.
So what countries are able to boast 100% renewable electricity generation rates? We’ve already revealed the largest (population-wise); the Democratic Republic of Congo which makes this list thanks to its large capacity hydroelectric generation stations. As mentioned, the population doesn’t get much access to this resource, as much of the electricity generated is used in mining and industry.
Also featuring on the list are Albania, Iceland, and Paraguay. Hydropower is a major contributor in each of these countries, with Iceland being the only country on this list to be able to benefit from a different source, namely geothermal energy, for a significant portion of its generation.
Creeping up the list, there are a further 8 countries that sit above 90%, and climbing thanks to very diversified renewable energy portfolios.