As old energy production methods are being phased out, renewable energy sources are taking their place. From strong winds to flowing water, clean energy is pushing a greener future. But which source of power is leading the race to a sustainable future?
The Green Contestants
Popular renewable energy can be divided into five main sources. Below, we’ve ranked them by their worldwide installed capacities. The figures come from research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2017.
- Hydropower: 1,154 GW
- Wind Power: 564 GW
- Solar Energy: 390 GW
- Bioenergy: 109 GW
- Geothermal Energy: 12.9 GW.
Now, the power of water is clear. It’s currently able to produce almost 3x more energy than solar. While that may be substantial, the pace of solar power is quickly growing. Since 2010, the cost of solar power has dropped by 73%, making it a popular investment for governments and regular people.
While solar power isn’t leading the race now, it may soon overtake wind power and hydropower in the next few decades. Some forecasts even state that solar power will become the largest contributor of energy compared to all other forms (both renewable and non-renewable) by 2050.
Accessible Green Energy
While hydroelectric dams and other water systems are collecting more energy that solar arrays, they’re exclusive systems. The average person can’t set up a dam in their backyard – nor can they buy their own wind turbine – but they can buy a solar panel. Solar energy is an easy-to-access resource, so it’s certainly leading the way in usable renewable energy.