Energy Transition

Which countries are least dependent on fossil fuels?

Sebastian Brixey-Williams
Digital Content Producer, Formative Content
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In the run-up to COP21, the climate conference being held in Paris in December, there’s an increasing focus on countries that are the least dependent on fossil fuels.

Using the most up-to-date World Bank Indicator figures from 2013 and 2012, the chart below shows the countries using the most energy from non-carbon sources – i.e. hydropower, nuclear, geothermal, wind and solar.

1509B03-alternative energy chart

Most of these countries make heavy use of hydroelectric power. Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia benefit primarily from large hydroelectric plants, and are both planning to grow their capacities in coming decades.

Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand also benefit from abundant hydroelectric resources; as does Costa Rica, which at the beginning of 2015 announced that it had powered the country for 75 days using only renewable-energy resources, primarily generated by hydropower plants that had benefited from unusually heavy rainfall.

Iceland, at the top of the list, makes more use of its extensive natural geothermal resources to power its small but highly green economy, producing 65% from geothermal sources alongside 20% from hydropower. El Salvador is the largest producer of geothermal energy in Central America, and also makes use of hydroelectric power.

France is the only country in which hydroelectric plays a small part in its energy production, at around 10%. Instead it derives 75% of its energy from nuclear power, though this share is set to fall to 50% by 2025.

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Author: Sebastian Brixey-Williams is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content.

Image: A technician works an electrical line, April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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