The Most Common Sources of Renewable Energy

By the year 2020, renewable sources of energy are expected to account for at least one quarter of global energy production. We’ve listed the five most common sources of renewable energy today which are only expected to become more and more popular.


The world’s most widely used renewable source of energy, hydropower accounts for over 16% of global net electricity production and more than 65% of the global power generation capacity from renewable sources. Construction of dams on rivers and releasing water from reservoirs to drive turbines is the most common method of hydropower. Pumped-storage type plants also represent another common method of generation of hydroelectricity. China has the largest capacity for hydroelectric generation in the world, and is home to the largest hydro power plant on the globe. Click here for more tidal energy facts.

Wind Power

Wind is the next most commonly used renewable energy source, with global wind power installed exceeding 283GW in the year 2013. During the last five to six years, wind has become the fastest growing renewable power source, with an annual growth rate of 25% which is expected to increase even further in the future. With an installed capacity of over 75GW, China is the largest generator of wind power in the world with the United States coming in second. The UK, India, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France and Canada are other major wind-power producing countries.

Solar Power

With a number of people using solar power directly to heat and power their homes with electricity that is natural, renewable and free, it’s no doubt that solar power is one of the highest ranking renewable electricity sources. With a global capacity of 100GW making it the third most widely used source, the use of concentrating solar technology is also on the rise. Italy, Germany, China, the US and Japan are home to the biggest sources of solar capacity in the world, whilst Spain possesses more than 75% of the global CSP capacity.


The fourth biggest renewable energy source in the world after hydro, wind, and solar, bio-power is being increasingly used for heat and power generation. Modern biomass such as bio-fuels and wood pellets are becoming more and more of a popular choice, alongside traditional biomass sources such as the by-products of agriculture. Currently, the world’s leading bio-power generators are the US, China, Brazil, Sweden and Germany whilst the Green Unit biomass plant in Poland is the world’s largest power plant that is 100% fueled by bio-power. Finland is also home to the largest bio-gas plant in the world which was launched in 2013.

Geothermal Power

As of 2013, installed production of power from geothermal sources were more than 11.7GW, making it the fifth biggest source of renewable energy. Around one third of the renewable energy provided by geothermal sources is accounted for by electricity generation, whilst the remaining two-thirds are used for generation of direct heat. The US, Mexico, Italy, Indonesia and the Philippines account for the biggest producers of geothermal power globally.

Do you currently use any sources of renewable energy?

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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