Renewable energy sources - leading consumers 2018

In 2018, China’s consumption of renewable energy was the highest in the world, accounting for 25.6 percent of global renewable consumption. The United States consumed a comparable proportion of the global renewables, and likewise had the second-highest consumption of primary energy from both renewable and non-renewable sources. Primary energy refers to energy that is derived directly from natural sources.

Alternatives to fossil fuels in China

Despite China accounting for such a large portion of global renewable consumption, use of renewables is a relatively recent development for the country, and still far less common than other traditional sources of primary energy. However, consumption of renewables has been higher than other alternatives to fossil fuels such as nuclear power. Both renewables and nuclear energy have seen significant increases in consumption since 2010.

The renewables market in Germany

For a country of its size, with a fraction of the population and energy demands of China and the United States, Germany has seen a strong trend in increased renewable energy consumption. Germany has been a forerunner in the industry, with wind power coming into an increasingly important role. Total installed wind power capacity in Germany has more than doubled since 2008 and continues to rise consistently over recent years.

Countries with the highest share of renewable energy consumption in 2018

Consumption as % of world total
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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Based on gross generation from renewable sources including wind, geothermal, solar, biomass and waste, and not accounting for cross-border electricity supply. Converted on the basis of thermal equivalence assuming 38 percent conversion efficiency in a modern thermal power station.

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Statistics on "Renewable energy industry worldwide"

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