Countries with Fast Growing Renewable Energy Capacity

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Countries with Fast Growing Renewable Energy Capacity

Growth in renewable is showing positive signs. 2022 showed another increase in installed renewable capacity, thanks to steadily falling costs, policy support, and governmental incentives.

The momentum for renewable energy growth is clearly evident. Today, building new solar and onshore wind power costs 40% less than coal or gas power. According to the World Resource Institute (WRI), this could be pivotal in making the transition to fossil fuel irreversible.

The These 8 Countries Are Scaling Up Renewable Energy the Fastest” article notes that in 2022, the total global energy generation from both solar (4.5%) and wind (7.5%) is 12%, but for the world to be on track with the net-zero emissions targets by 2030, the State of Climate Action 2023 report says, solar and wind combined has to make up between 57% to 78% of electric generation.

WRI reveals the top five countries with the fastest growth in renewable energy installation for a five-year period. The ranking only focuses on the increase in a country’s share of solar and wind rather than total levels and not the countries leading in developing renewable technologies like China and the USA. Although the two countries dominate in adding renewable capacity each year, their large populations mean that renewable energy still consists of less than one-sixth of their electricity generation (Jaeger, 2012).

These are WRI’s top five countries with the fastest renewable growth in a 5-year.

  • Uruguay increase 1% to 35% in 2013-2018
  • Denmark, 20% to 51% in 2010-2015
  • Lithuania, 13% to 43%, in 2012 to 2017
  • Namibia, 2% to 27%, 2014 to 2019
  • Netherlands, 11% to 32%, 2017 to 2022

We examined three of the five countries, and here is what we learned.

Denmark is an innovative leader in wind energy, having constructed one of the world’s first wind turbines in 1891. Today, more than 50% of its power comes from wind energy, and it has reduced the share of fossil fuels in its energy mix from 97% in 1990 to 6% currently.

Uruguay is becoming a wind powerhouse. It has increased its wind power from 1% to 35% within five years. The country has historically relied on hydropower, but droughts from the late 1990s to the early 2000s drained its reserves, affecting its power production and forcing the government to invest in wind energy. The country has seen tremendous wind energy growth since 2008 up to 2018. The Guardian reports that the country now produces 98% of its electricity from renewables.

Namibia has a lower GDP than Denmark and Uruguay but is becoming an African solar hub. Geographically, Namibia is ideally suited to produce solar energy. According to the WEF, the country can capture around 10 hours of strong sunlight per day for 300 days per year, making it one of the places with the highest solar irradiance sufficient to provide power to its people; 40% of them lacked access to power in 2020, and neighbouring countries in Africa.

Climate Council, an Australian independent and evidence-based organisation on climate science, also presents their list of 11 countries leading the charge in renewable energy. The article says these countries use clever combinations of renewable resources and efficient, targeted policies to reduce emissions. 

  • 1. Sweden tops the list. In 2012, the country reached its target of 50% renewable energy, 8 years ahead of schedule, and on track to achieve its 2040 goal of 100% renewable energy sources.
  • 2. Costa Rica produced 98% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2022 for over eight years, and this trend is likely to continue. Hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass are their renewable energy sources. In some years, the country also exports its excess power to countries in Central America’s regional electricity market, such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador. 
  • 3. The United Kingdom leads the world in offshore wind energy. Its wind energy generation powers over 7.5 million homes, more than any other country. They plan to increase wind energy capacity four times by 2030, helping to achieve its goal to decarbonise its power system by 2035.
  • 4. Iceland’s hydropower and geothermal power provide almost 100% of its electricity needs. Its geothermal energy generation makes it to the top 10 in the world.
  • 5. Germany has a major policy reform in 2022, described as the biggest change in decades, favouring a transition to renewables. It targets to reach 80% renewable power by 2030 and close to 100% by 2035. In 2022, the share of renewable energy is almost 50%, and the trend will likely continue.
  • 6. Uruguay underwent an energy revolution in 2007, producing 91% of its energy from renewable sources, including hydropower, wind, solar, and biofuels. Uruguay also exports its excess power to its Southern American neighbours, Argentina and Brazil.
  • 7. Kenya is home to Africa’s largest wind farm, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, which has over 310 MW capacity and enough energy for one million homes. The project has since attracted significant private investments totalling $650 million.
  • 8. China is the world’s largest emitter and yet leads globally in wind and solar capacity and investments. In 2022, its low-carbon spending reached US$546 billion. The country is on track to double its utility-scale solar and wind capacity and could achieve its 2030 targets of generating 1,200 GW five years ahead of schedule.
  • 9. Morocco is home to the world’s biggest concentrated solar farm, the 580 MW Noor-Ouarzazate complex in the Sahara desert. The farm is the size of 3,500 football fields and generates enough electricity to power a city twice the size of Marrakesh.
  • 10. New Zealand’s electricity comes from 84% renewable energy. The country aims to reach 50% renewable energy in all its energy consumption by 2035 and 100% renewable by 2030.
  • 11. Norway’s electricity in 2016 came from 98% renewable, mainly hydropower. The country has been harnessing power from waterfalls and rivers since the late 1800s. Throughout the years, it has added thermal and wind energy to the mix.

These countries prove that when governments set ambitious goals for renewable energy and follow them up with investments, the result comes quickly.

Boosting renewable energy lowers emissions, contributes to the economy, opens jobs and opportunities in clean energy, and supports resilient and sustainable energy systems, a win-win solution for the economy and the environment.


Jaeger, J. (2023, July 12). These 8 Countries Are Scaling Up Renewable Energy the Fastest. WRI. Retrieved from

11 Countries Leading the Charge on Renewable Energy. (2022, August, 15). Climate Council. Retrieved from

Geingob, H. (2021, October 3). Namibia is poised to become the renewable energy hub of Africa. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from

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