Countries Leading the Charge and Europe’s Notable Achievements

alternative energy

Seven nations have achieved the impressive feat of generating all their electricity from renewable sources, with two of them located in Europe.

The previous year marked a significant milestone for the wind energy sector, recording its highest-ever installation rates.

According to the most recent Global Wind Report released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), the world saw an addition of 116 gigawatts of wind power capacity in 2023. This marks a remarkable 50% surge compared to 2022, making 2023 the most successful year to date for new wind energy projects.

China led the global charts in offshore and onshore wind installations, followed closely by the US, Brazil, and Germany. The Netherlands also contributed substantially to Europe’s achievements, setting a new record with an addition of 3.8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in 2023.

While the growth of wind power remains concentrated in a handful of major countries, the report highlights that several regions and countries experienced unprecedented growth. Notably, Africa and the Middle East installed nearly 1 gigawatt of wind power capacity in 2023, nearly tripling the figure from the previous year.

The authors of the report are optimistic about the global progress toward combating climate change, stating that the world is “moving in the right direction.” However, they caution that an annual growth rate of at least 320 gigawatts is required by 2030 to fulfill the COP28 commitment of tripling renewable energy by the decade’s end.

GWEC CEO Ben Backwell expressed satisfaction with the wind industry’s growth trajectory, saying, “It’s great to see wind industry growth picking up, and we are proud of reaching a new annual record.

Which nations rely solely on renewable energy sources?

According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), seven countries meet all their energy needs through renewable sources.

Albania, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Nepal, Paraguay, Iceland, and the Democratic Republic of Congo derive an impressive 99.7% or more of their electricity from renewable sources, including solar, geothermal, hydro, and wind power.

Close on their heels is Norway, which obtains 98.38% of its energy from wind, water, or solar, according to findings by Stanford University’s Professor Mark Jacobson.

In 2021 and 2022, 40 countries met at least half of their electricity needs with renewable energy. This group includes 11 European countries. Notably, Portugal and Germany have showcased their ability to operate solely on wind, water, and solar power for limited periods.

The Rise of Solar Energy

While many of these countries primarily utilize hydropower or wind energy, experts anticipate that solar energy could soon emerge as a dominant force. Advancements in technology and decreasing costs have bolstered solar’s potential.

Solar energy accounted for a staggering 73% of the growth in renewable energy capacity in 2023, with wind power contributing 24%. Currently, solar energy constitutes 37% of the global renewable energy capacity.

A joint study conducted by the University of Exeter and University College London in 2023 projects that solar energy will reach a pivotal “irreversible tipping point,” becoming the world’s primary energy source by 2050.