Keep in mind many of these countries pay outrageous costs to have electricity generated using fossil fuel generation.
It actually makes sense from an economic standpoint in these countries to utilize renewable energy electricity generation via solar and wind.
In other cases the countries with such a large percentage of renewable resources have the advantage of many hydro electric plants. Simply by already having many natural water ways it allows for hydro electric plants to be developed.
Some countries and states don’t have the luxury of having as many water ways to generate as much renewable electricity via hydro technology. The U.S. has the Hoover Dam but in Texas there simply are not a lot of Hydro resources available.
Always keep in mind when comparing countries based on how renewable they are just what percentage of that is hydro which is one of the cheapest ways to create renewable energy if you have the water ways to do it.
It would be an absurd cost to make the United States run 100 % on just solar energy at this time as the panels in production are very inefficient and costly. Of course, when solar costs less than fossil fuels it would make sense than. In the future fossil fuels will be used more for making plastics, roadways, most products and as a back up reserve energy source.
It will be an awesome day when renewable energy finally takes over but until then we must find the right mix of renewable and fossil fuel electricity generation to remain cost efficient.
Most large oil refining companies are now also in the renewable energy, solar and wind generation business. Take for instance Chevron. Chevron is the largest installer of solar energy for education institutions in the United States.
This list below are countries that achieve 60% or more of their electricity generation from renewable energy.
You will see that some of these countries get about 95% of their electricity from renewable energy. In some of these counties the only other choice is very dirty expensive diesel fuel generation that is extremely expensive so it really does make sense from an economic point of view to go 100 % renewable.
The country of Paraguay has a unique electricity generation position as they have the natural water ways to produce 100% of their electricity using hydro power. Unfortunately the United States does not have the abundant hydro resources that Paraguay has or this would be one of the most renewable and cheapest ways of generating power here in the U.S.
Since Paraguay gets 100 % of their electricity from hydro and yet still exports 90 % of their total hydro production to other countries they are actually closer to 1000 percent renewable.
France gets about 80 % of their renewable energy from nuclear and Belgium gets over 60 % from nuclear. Lithuania is about tied with France with over 80 % of their electricity coming from nuclear generation.
Here is the astonishing list of countries with over 60 percent of their electricity generation coming from renewable sources. What it all comes down to is hydro. If only the United States had more hydro options but we don’t. We will one day be able to utilize solar to a greater extent but it remains somewhat cost prohibitive although battery technology for energy storage is greatly changing and cheaper more efficient solar panels are being refined every day. This list was taken from the blog article written by Karl-Friedrich Lenz and can be found here
- Albania (100% hydro in 2008).
- Angola (96.45% hydro in 2008)
- Austria (73.86% renewable in 2009, 12.5% of that non hydro)
- Belize (90.91% hydro in 2008)
- Bhutan (99.86% hydro in 2008)
- Brazil (88.88% renewable with 4.93 non hydro in 2009)
- Burundi (100% hydro in 2008)
- Cameroon (77.31% hydro in 2008)
- Canada (61.95% renewable, with 1.86% non hydro in 2009)
- Central African Republic (81.25% renewable in 2008)
- Columbia (85.67% hydro in 2008)
- Congo (82.22% renewable in 2008)
- Costa Rica (93.11% renewable in 2008)
- DPR Korea (61.86% hydro in 2008)
- DR Congo (99.46% hydro in 2008)
- Ecuador (64.12% renewable in 2008, with 2.21% non hydro)
- El Salvador (62.24% renewable in 2008, with 26.92 non hydro)
- Ethiopia (88.17% renewable in 2008, with 0.27% non hydro)
- Fiji (68.04% renewable in 2008)
- Georgia (85.52% hydro in 2008)
- Ghana (75.03% hydro in 2008)
- Guatemala (61.31% renewable, with 17.5 non hydro in 2008)
- Iceland (100% renewable, with 26.27% geothermal in 2009).
- Kenya (62.59% renewable, with 21.06% non hydro in 2008)
- Kyrgyzstan (90.85% hydro in 2008)
- Lao PDR (92.46% hydro in 2008)
- Latvia (62.23% renewable with 1.96% non hydro in 2008)
- Lesotho (100% hydro in 2008)
- Madagascar (66.67% hydro in 2008)
- Malawi (86.31% hydro in 2008)
- Mozambique (99.87% hydro in 2008)
- Myanmar (62.05% hydro in 2008)
- Namibia (70.91% hydro in 2008)
- Nepal (99.67% hydro in 2008)
- New Zealand (72.52% renewable, including 15.42% non hydro in 2009)
- Norway (97.11% renewable, including 0.93% non hydro in 2009)
- Paraguay (100.00% hydro in 2008), exporting 90% of generated electricity (54.91 TWh in 2008)
- Peru (60.53% renewable, including 1.47% non hydro in 2008)
- Sweden (60.42% renewable, including 10.58% non hydro in 2009)
- Tajikistan (98.25% hydro in 2008)
- Tanzania (61.45% hydro in 2008)
- Uganda (74.77% hydro in 2008)
- Uruguay (61.98% renewable, with 9.33 non hydro in 2008)
- Venezuela (69.57% hydro in 2008)
- Zambia (99.69% hydro in 2008)