Revealed: the countries leading the way in renewable energy


Across the world, countries are facing increasing pressure to reduce the ecological imprint they leave on the planet, slow down climate change, and protect the environment for future generations. Greater emphasis has been placed on the importance of transitioning to using renewable energy, instead of fossil fuels.

But which countries are leading the way in using renewable energy?

Compare the Market has analysed the energy consumption of 21 countries to reveal which are using the most and least renewable energy sources in their total consumption. With renewable energy varying from wind, solar, hydropower and bioenergy, there are an increasing number of more environmentally-friendly options for producing the energy that we use each day. You can view the graphic here

The countries with the highest proportion of renewable energy include:

Rank Country % of renewable energy used
1 Germany 12.74
2 UK 11.95
3 Sweden 10.96
4 Spain 10.17
5 Italy 8.8
6 Brazil 7.35
7 Japan 5.3
8 Turkey 5.25
9 Australia 4.75
10 USA 4.32

Germany leads the world with a renewable energy consumption of 12.74% of their total energy use. This European nation is on an energy revolution aimed at replacing its fossil fuels with wind and solar technology, which scientists agree is pivotal for every country to adopt in order to avoid a climate disaster across the globe. 

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In particular, Germany has been working to reduce its coal use, with the first half of 2019 seeing the country use more renewable sources of energy to produce electricity than coal and nuclear power combined, a first for the country. In addition, renewables accounted for 40% of Germany’s electricity consumption in 2018, and more work is being done to continue the rise in renewable energy use. 

The UK ranks second in their renewable energy use at 11.05% in the country’s total consumption. Wind power has been particularly prevalent, with a new energy record set just a few days ago when wind provided over 40% of the nation’s power.  

The USA ranks at 10th with a renewable energy proportion of less than half that of the UK and nearly three times less that of Germany at 4.32%. South Africa ranks at 15th with even lower renewable use levels at just 2.25%. Other countries with a particularly low consumption include Mexico at 1.65%, South Korea at 1.63% and Russia at 0.04%. And whilst the likes of Germany and the UK are leading the way, it is critical that these figures continue to rise over the next few years for all countries across the globe.

Peter Earl from the Energy team at Compare the Market, said: “It’s very important to not only be aware of how much energy from non-renewable sources is being used both individually and globally, but to put that in a context that everyone can understand. 

Championing the countries that are leading the way in using renewable energy is equally important and we are proud to see the UK is one of the countries highest up in the league table.”

Read more of the latest renewable energy news here.

To see more on the way the world uses renewable and non-renewable energy, and the equivalent cost in crude oil, find the full study here.

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