Market Snapshot: Canada’s global ranking in renewable power generation

Release date: 2017-05-03

Hydro is one of the more prevalent sources of renewable energy in the world: nine countries generate at least half of their electricity from hydropower. In 2015, Canada generated 61% of its electricity from hydro resources,Footnote 1 ranking third globally behind only Brazil (62%) and Norway (95%). In absolute terms, Canada generated about 10% of world hydroelectricity in 2015, second only to China.

Canada does not rank as a global leader in other types of renewable power generation, however. In 2015, Canada was 20th in its share of electricity generation from wind, 30th in its share from solar power, and 39th in its share from geothermal and biomass. Denmark led the world rankings in wind energy, which accounted for half of its total electricity generation in 2015. For solar power, Italy had the highest share worldwide (9% of its total generation). For biomass and geothermal, New Zealand led the world (19% share of its total generation).

World leaders in percentage share of electricity generation by renewable source (2015)

Source and Description

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy

Description: These four bar graphs show the top three world leaders by percentage share of electricity generation for hydro, wind, solar, and biomass and geothermal. It shows the share from the respective generation source, share from other renewables, and share from non-renewables. Norway has the highest share of electricity from hydropower (95%), followed by Brazil (62%) and Canada (61%). For wind, Denmark (50%), Ireland (23%) and Portugal (22%) lead the world. The highest share of solar power goes to Italy (9%), Greece (7%), and Germany (6%). For share of generation from biomass and geothermal, New Zealand (19%), Finland (16%), and Denmark (14%) are world leaders.

Canada’s Adoption of Renewable Power Sources outlines the numerous factors affecting the types of, and adoption rates for, renewable power technologies. Major factors include:

  • Average lifetime costs, and their impact on both producers and consumers.
  • Reliability, as system operators are mandated to ensure that supply meets demand at all times.
  • Environmental effects, including greenhouse gas emissions from generation and installation as well as more localized ecological impacts.
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