Despite the meteoric growth of renewable energy, it's still a small slice of the world's electricity. A new map shows exactly how small: Flick off the switches for power coming from fossil fuels or nuclear plants, and most of the globe goes dark.
Two-thirds of global energy comes from fossil fuels, and 22% comes from renewables. Seven countries run on 100% renewable power, while 14 others run completely on fossil fuels.
But the map, from a British website called GoCompare, looks different than it would have a few years ago, thanks to the falling price of wind and solar power, and it's going to keep quickly changing. In 2015, 68% of all new energy capacity installed in the United States was renewable. China installed a record amount of wind and solar power last year and plans to increase it by another 21% in 2016. By 2020, China plans to quadruple its solar power.
India wants to increase solar energy from a little more than 3 gigawatts (GW) to 100 GW by 2020; in total, the country plans to have 175 GW of installed renewable power in just a few years. (To put that in perspective, the total amount of renewable energy added in 2015—in the entire world—was 152 GW.)
Of course, things could be changing even faster. One group of researchers says that it's technically feasible for the world to run on 80% wind, hydro, and solar power by 2030—and 100% renewables by 2050.
Cover Photo: Flickr user Rennett Stowe