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Taking Stock of the Countries that Lead in Renewable Energy

Which countries are winning the global race to get electricity from renewable sources instead of fossil fuels? Viewed in terms of total output, the U.S., Germany, and Spain lead the pack. The lineup would change dramatically if hydropower (not included in these slides) were added to the mix of renewable sources: China would take the top spot, followed by the U.S. and Canada. (Drawing on hydropower helps to cut carbon emissions, but some critics say it damages the environment in other ways, so we did not consider generation from dams.) Even without hydro projects, the bigger countries listed generate the most renewable electricity by volume. Some smaller countries are already at or near 100 percent reliance on renewable energy. If judged purely by a country's total percentage of non-hydropower renewable-energy generation, Denmark, El Salvador, and Iceland would hold the top three places.

Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration (statistics are from 2009 figures)
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