With the second day of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting well underway, clean energy use is at the top of mind for attendees — with a day full of sessions at Davos focused on improving energy efficiency worldwide. And the transformation imagined is staggering. Here at home, clean energy proponents are suggesting 80 percent of U.S. energy could come from clean sources by 2035. And on Jan. 19th, the Energy Policy journal released a study suggesting that 100 percent of worldwide energy could be clean by 2030 if the right steps were taken.
So how close are we to achieving this goal?
Not very, unless you’re Iceland, which gets 80.6 percent of its power from clean, non-CO2-creating sources, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
At a not-so-close second is Sweden, with 46.2 percent of its energy from clean sources, and third is France, with 45.6 percent. Fourth was Norway (43.2%) and Switzerland came in fifth (40.9%).
Granted, these rankings are using the IEA’s definition of clean energy, which includes energy that does not produce carbon dioxide when generated. It incorporates energy from hydroelectric, nuclear, geothermal, solar, and wind, among others. Our rankings do not include developing nations because their energy usage and production statistics are sometimes not as standardized as those in developed nations, making side-by-side comparisons difficult.
What do these nations have in common? They’re either small in population (Iceland’s heavy clean-energy generation meets the needs of 300,000 people total) or they’re heavily reliant on nuclear, as with France. Their latest plans reportedly even call for expanding with futuristic underwater nuclear facilities.
Despite a January announcement from the Chinese government that 26 percent of its energy came from clean sources, China did not make the list as that figure has not yet had a chance for corroboration by the IEA.
With a great deal of time being spent at Davos studying success stories — and how they might be used as models around the world — we take a look at the top ten clean energy countries in our infographic below.
*Read more WEF stories on GE Reports