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Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Taking a voyage across the world of energy with ClipperData’s Director of Commodity Research. Follow on Twitter @ClipperData, @mattvsmith01

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10 Renewable Energy Statistics you Might Not Know

10 Renewable Energy Statistics you Might Not Know

For the last couple of months I’ve been digging into the hydrocarbon space and studies from LNG exports to NGVs to gasoline, so it seemed a prudent time to go off on a tangent and take a random walk through something non-fossil fuel-ish. So here are ten tidbits I have garnered on my recent travels through the land of renewable generation:

1)    Renewable generation is estimated to rise to 25% of global gross power generation in 2018, up from 20% in 2011, and 19% in 2006

Renewable energy production

2)    Hydropower currently makes up the lion’s share of global renewable generation, accounting for 16% of global gross power generation at the last count (in 2011)

3)    Wind and solar power are the new kids on the block. Their share is seen as doubling to 8% of global generation in 2018 (from 2011 levels of 4%)

4)    Germany is the largest solar electricity producer in the world. It has installed as much solar capacity as the rest of the world combined, and gets approximately 4% of its overall annual energy needs from the sun alone. A recent record saw it met nearly 50% of the nation’s electricity needs. Although some suggest that Germany’s energy portfolio may not be as green as we think, given its increasing reliance on coal

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5)    Iceland’s generation mix is kinda mad. It is made up predominantly of hydropower (approximately 75%), with the rest from renewables (think: geothermal). No combustible fuels in sight:

Power generation mix of Iceland

Power Generation Mix of Iceland

6)    Global renewable generation in 2012 exceeded the electricity consumption of China. Ironically, much of the growth in renewable generation in 2012 was due to stronger hydropower production…from China

7)    China currently leads the globe in hydropower generation, and is expected to account for 40% of the growth in global renewable power capacity through to 2018

8)    Meanwhile, wind power is expected to be deployed in up to 75 countries in 2018. The current leading nation for wind power is…China – having surpassed the US in 2010. Germany, Spain, and India round out the top five

9)    Six of the top ten leading nations for wind power are from Europe (Germany, Spain, UK, Italy, France, and Portugal). Meanwhile,  Denmark is not only the pioneer behind wind power technology, but its wind power generation is equal to approximately 20% of its electricity consumption

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10)    Renewable generation in the US made up 13% of the total generation mix in 2011. Although nonhydropower capacity is expected to grow by 150% by 2040 – led by solar and wind power – renewable energy will only grow to a 16% share of the generation mix by 2040. Wind power will be the leading source of renewable capacity at this point, surpassing hydropower

Renewable energy

I hope this random bag of renewable energy info has been useful. As always, thanks for playing!

By. Matt Smith

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  • Bloomer on July 24 2013 said:
    It might be helpful for readers, to examine the problem of wind and solar intermittency, and the effect that has on increasingly fragile power grids.

    We should not make the mistake of confusing nameplate capacity for actual useful power production. A lot of wind power has to be dumped because it is produced at the wrong time, contributing to dangerous grid congestion. Germany's neighbors have gone to great expense to stop Germany's hazardous dumping of excess wind energy onto their grids.

    You could learn a lot more about these issues on your own, and do your readers a great service. I hope you do.

    The easy road is to go along with the inside crowd and close your eyes to the high cost, well-connected, crony-laden bamboozling. I hope you don't do that.
  • SA Kiteman on July 26 2013 said:
    --- Renewable energy kills more people in a single year than nuclear power has killed in its entire existence, bombs included.
    :: Solid biofuel used for cooking kills some 1.8Million people per year. Nuclear, nowhere near that.

    --- Windmills result in the generation of more radioactive waste than a Liquid Fluoride Thorium Recycler (LFTR) per kWh energy produced.
    :: Windmills use a large amount of Rare Earth Elements and REE ores for all practical purposes always come with significant amounts of thorium. That thorium is a radioactive waste that remains equally dangerous for billions of years. LFTRs burn that "waste" and some of the Spent Nuclear Fuel "waste" from conventional reactors (dangerous for 100s of thousands of years) and produce wastes that stop being dangerous in a few hundred years.
  • Marcus on August 03 2013 said:
    Kiteman, there are 60MW battery fatms on contract in Japan to deal with this issue as well as to reduce peak generation needs. California's renewables are fitting nicely and nonhydro makes up more than 10% of the energy mix. Solar is doubling and used for daytime when needed most by the grid. Kiteman where the heck do you get your numbers from? And thorium has no or negligible use in wind power. 1.8 million people killed by falling trees? Right.
  • SA Kiteman on August 13 2013 said:
    The MW rating is easy, the MWdays rating (which is the kind of energy storage needed for the unreliables) is a LOT harder to come by.

    Didn't read my simple expository statement? Wind relies on Rare Earth Elements to make magnets. REEs effectively ALWAYS come with thorium. That thorium is a waste product when building windmills. Simple.

    Is it your nature to make stupid assertions and then ridicule them? If so, you should work on that. About 3 billion people use solid fuels (wood, charcoal, dung) to cook their food. The cook fires give off smoke that includes hazardous chemicals. About 1.8 million people (mainly women and small children) per year die as a direct result of inhaling that smoke. Renewable energy kills AT LEAST 1.8 million people per year.
  • Michael on September 24 2013 said:
    "About 1.8 million people (mainly women and small children) per year die as a direct result of inhaling that smoke. Renewable energy kills AT LEAST 1.8 million people per year. "

    Now I'm not some activist preaching the goodness of renewable electricity, but the stupidity of this statement astounds me. With or without renewable energy, millions of people will die from smoke inhalation. It's simply the main cause of deaths in fires.

    There will always be fires and accidents every year, almost all of which are isolated accidents, having nothing to do with renewable energy. A tiny fraction of these deaths are actually to do with anything clean energy related.

    If you have anything less to blather on about, please start it with a citation from a good source that states that more than 1.8 million people each year die directly from renewable energy.

    Try not to mix oranges with apples, the apples really get offended sometimes.


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