G7 Countries: Percent Electricity from Wind and Solar - 2015

 

The Group of 7 (G7) consists of the finance ministers and central bank governors of seven major advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This group meets regularly to discuss, primarily, economic issues.

The G7 countries represent more than 64 percent of net global wealth ($263 trillion), 46 percent of global GDP and 32 percent of global purchasing power.

Consequently, and not least since Canada is a G7 member country, it is interesting to compare how these seven influential countries are expanding their use of modern renewables (wind and solar). The following chart compares how much of their total electricity requirements each of them generates from wind and solar. Saskatchewan is shown for comparison.

 

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy (2016)

 

FYI the G-7 average (6.9 percent) is not a simple arithmetic average and instead depends on total generation. Consequently and even though it may appear lower than one might expect, it is heavily influenced by the low uptake of wind in Japan (Pop. 127 million). 

Germany's high usage of wind and solar is impressive not least because the country is densely populated, has a relatively poor wind & solar resource and is also heavily dependent on a highly sophisticated engineering and manufacturing economy. For additional info try this

Canada's position in 2nd last is largely due to a disinterested attitude to wind and solar by the previous (Harper) government. It may also be because of a view that Canada, the world's 5th highest use of hydro-electricity, does not need to make too much effort with non-hydro renewables. This latter point may have some validity if seen through the narrow lens of environmental performance. However it misses the wider economic opportunities afforded by wind and solar: particularly for Canada.

Hydro-electricity is ideally suited to balancing the inherent variability associated with wind and solar. Canada's world-leading position in hydro means that it is extremely well placed to be a world-leader in wind and solar - particularly with the massive US market, hungry for lo-carbon electricity, at its back door. This fact is borne out by the recent GE study which found it would be economically and technically feasible for wind energy to generate 35 percent of Canada's total electricity requirements. It is also confirmed by the recent 'Three Amigos' energy summit, between PM Trudeau, President Obama and PM Enrique Peña Nieto, at which the significant clean energy opportunities for Canada were confirmed.

Saskatchewan, despite having a better combined resource than any G7 member, is noteworthy for using less wind and solar than any other G7 country.