BP on renewables

In the previous post we had a look at the state of the traditional energy sources.  This blog post will cover renewable energy sources.  According to BP global solar energy output was up 15.% year on year compared with 2011.  Although this increase was less than the year before. Its still part of a healthy long term trend of double digit growth in renewable energy stretching back 10 years.  However,  before we get carried away renewables still only produce 4.7% of all electricity generated in the world although this is a record figure.


Hydro leads the field as you can see from the following graph.

wind hydro solar

Wind, hyrdo and solar output (data from BP).

I’ve put all the data on the same axis to indicate to you how far wind and solar are behind hydro output.  The plot is deceptive, hydro looks like its output is growing far faster than the others.  Not true; hydro output growth was 11x less than solar output last year.  On current trends that will overtake at some point, but it is going to take many years.  Germany of course was the leader on solar, but the UK solar output increased over 4 fold from the year before and for two years has been measurable.  The USA has the largest wind output.


Capacity continues to grow fast.  Hydro data is not given by BP, but wind and solar capacity is growing fast.  Solar capacity increased by almost 75% last year and wind by a very respectable 18%.  The graph below shows the BP data.

wind and solar capacity

Wind and solar capacity (BP).

In the next post we will wrap it up with a look at what effect if any this is having on carbon emissions.

Further details can be found  here.


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