By a wide margin, the world leader in renewable energy is the United StatesJuly 30, 2012
The BP statistical energy abstract for 2012 is out. I will have more to say about this in the days ahead, but I wanted to point out a key fact from the data tables. In 2011, the world consumed 194.8 million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE) of non-hydropower renewable energy. That marked a 17.7% increase over 2010. The largest consumer of renewable energy – by far – was the United States, which consumed 45.3 MTOE, a 16.5% increase over 2010. US consumption of renewable energy represents over 23% of the global total and is nearly twice that of the nearest competitor (Germany, 23.2 MTOE; China is the third largest consumer at 17.7).
This is consumption, not production. I will have more detailed analysis of production later. For now, I will point out that while Germany dominates the world in installed solar power capacity, accounting for 35.8% of the global total, the US is fourth in solar capacity (6.3% of total). China leads the world in installed wind capacity at 26.1%, the US is second at 19.7%. The US dominates in geothermal, 28.3% of world total where both China and Germany are negligible (less than 1% each), and in biofuels with 48% of the world total; again, Germany and China are less than 5% each.
Each of the three leading nations has a different approach to renewables – in Germany, there is a relatively even mix between wind and solar electricity generation. In China, wind dominates. In the US, biofuels dominates.