Connect with us

Energy

Mapped: Europe’s Biggest Sources of Electricity by Country

Published

on

Subscribe to the Elements free mailing list for more like this

Map of Europe with countries colored according to their biggest sources of electricity generation

Mapped: Europe’s Biggest Sources of Electricity by Country

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Energy and electricity supply have become vital for nearly every European nation over the past year, as the region shifts away from its dependence on Russian fuel imports.

While many countries have been making progress in their energy transition away from fossil fuels, nearly half of European countries are still dependent on them as their primary source of electricity generation.

This graphic maps out European countries by their top source of electricity generation using data from Electricity Maps and the IEA, along with a breakdown of the EU’s overall electricity generation by source in 2021.

Europe’s Electricity Generation by Energy Source

Europe has been steadily transitioning towards renewable sources of energy for their electricity generation, making considerable progress over the last decade.

In 2011, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal) made up 49% of the EU’s electricity production while renewable energy sources only made up 18%. A decade later, renewable energy sources are coming close to equaling fossil fuels, with renewables making up 32% of the EU’s electricity generation compared to fossil fuels’ 36% in 2021.

SourceEU Electricity Generation Share (2011)EU Electricity Generation Share (2021)
Nuclear29%25%
Coal25%14%
Natural Gas19%20%
Hydropower10%13%
Wind6%13%
Oil5%2%
Solar2%6%
Biofuel4%5%
Othern/a2%

The expansion of wind and solar generation have been the primary drivers in this shift towards renewables, going from only generating 8% of the EU’s electricity in 2011 all the way to 19% in 2021. While this might still seem small, the EU’s share of wind and solar electricity generation is tied for first alongside Oceania when compared to other regions around the world.

While hydropower doesn’t make up as big of a share as other sources, it’s the most common primary source of electricity generation in Europe, playing an important role in providing renewable energy.

Nuclear energy is the largest single source of electricity generation in the EU and across Europe despite its decline over the past couple of decades. Back in 2001, nuclear energy made up one-third (33%) of the EU’s electricity generation, and in the following 20 years fell down to 25%.

The Primary Electricity Sources of Europe’s Major Nations

When looking at individual nations, the majority of Europe’s largest countries have fossil fuels as their largest primary single source of electricity.

Germany remains heavily reliant on coal power, which from 2017 to 2021 generated 31% of the nation’s electricity. Despite the dependence on the carbon intensive fossil fuel, wind and solar energy generation together made up more of Germany’s electricity generation at 33% (23% for wind and 10% for solar).

France is Europe’s largest economy that primarily relies on nuclear power, with nuclear power making up more than half of the country’s electricity production.

Italy, the UK, and the Netherlands are all primarily natural gas powered when it comes to their electricity generation from 2017 to 2021. While Italy is the most reliant of the three at 42% of electricity generated by natural gas, the Netherlands (40%), and the UK (38%) aren’t too far off.

Spain is an outlier among major European nations and a success story in a transition towards renewable energy sources. While in the period from 2017-2021 the country was primarily dependent on natural gas (29%), in 2022 natural gas’ contribution to electricity generation fell to 14% as wind rose up to become the primary electricity generator with a 32% share.

Accelerating the EU’s Energy Transition

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy independence in the EU has become of utmost importance, and countries have taken the opportunity to accelerate their transition towards renewable energy sources.

A new report from Ember highlights how the transition made considerable progress in 2022, with solar and wind power (22%) overtaking natural gas (20%) in electricity generation for the first time ever.

While 2022 did see an increase in fossil fuel electricity generation for the EU, Ember is expecting it to decline in 2023 by as much as 20%. If the EU can sustain this accelerated shift away from fossil fuels, this map of primary energy sources of electricity generation could feature many more renewable and low-carbon energy sources in the near future.

Click for Comments

Energy

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium reserves by country, with 3 countries accounting for more than half of total reserves.

Published

on

A cropped chart visualizing the distribution of the global uranium reserves, by country.

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

There can be a tendency to believe that uranium deposits are scarce from the critical role it plays in generating nuclear energy, along with all the costs and consequences related to the field.

But uranium is actually fairly plentiful: it’s more abundant than gold and silver, for example, and about as present as tin in the Earth’s crust.

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium resources by country, as of 2021. Figures come from the World Nuclear Association, last updated on August 2023.

Ranked: Uranium Reserves By Country (2021)

Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada have the largest shares of available uranium resources—accounting for more than 50% of total global reserves.

But within these three, Australia is the clear standout, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of uranium discovered (28% of the world’s reserves) currently. Its Olympic Dam mine, located about 600 kilometers north of Adelaide, is the the largest single deposit of uranium in the world—and also, interestingly, the fourth largest copper deposit.

Despite this, Australia is only the fourth biggest uranium producer currently, and ranks fifth for all-time uranium production.

CountryShare of Global
Reserves
Uranium Reserves (Tonnes)
🇦🇺 Australia28%1.7M
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan13%815K
🇨🇦 Canada10%589K
🇷🇺 Russia8%481K
🇳🇦 Namibia8%470K
🇿🇦 South Africa5%321K
🇧🇷 Brazil5%311K
🇳🇪 Niger5%277K
🇨🇳 China4%224K
🇲🇳 Mongolia2%145K
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2%131K
🇺🇦 Ukraine2%107K
🌍 Rest of World9%524K
Total100%6M

Figures are rounded.

Outside the top three, Russia and Namibia both have roughly the same amount of uranium reserves: about 8% each, which works out to roughly 470,000 tonnes.

South Africa, Brazil, and Niger all have 5% each of the world’s total deposits as well.

China completes the top 10, with a 3% share of uranium reserves, or about 224,000 tonnes.

A caveat to this is that current data is based on known uranium reserves that are capable of being mined economically. The total amount of the world’s uranium is not known exactly—and new deposits can be found all the time. In fact the world’s known uranium reserves increased by about 25% in the last decade alone, thanks to better technology that improves exploration efforts.

Meanwhile, not all uranium deposits are equal. For example, in the aforementioned Olympic Dam, uranium is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining occurring at the same site. In South Africa, it emerges as a byproduct during treatment of ores in the gold mining process. Orebodies with high concentrations of two substances can increase margins, as costs can be shared for two different products.

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Popular