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Where are Clean Energy Technologies Manufactured?

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Where are Clean Energy Technologies Manufactured?

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Visualizing Where Clean Energy Technologies Are Manufactured

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When looking at where clean energy technologies and their components are made, one thing is very clear: China dominates the industry.

The country, along with the rest of the Asia Pacific region, accounts for approximately 75% of global manufacturing capacity across seven clean energy technologies.

Based on the IEA’s 2023 Energy Technology Perspectives report, the visualization above breaks down global manufacturing capacity by region for mass-manufactured clean energy technologies, including onshore and offshore wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, electric vehicles (EVs), fuel cell trucks, heat pumps, and electrolyzers.

The State of Global Manufacturing Capacity

Manufacturing capacity refers to the maximum amount of goods or products a facility can produce within a specific period. It is determined by several factors, including:

  • The size of the manufacturing facility
  • The number of machines or production lines available
  • The skill level of the workforce
  • The availability of raw materials

According to the IEA, the global manufacturing capacity for clean energy technologies may periodically exceed short-term production needs. Currently, this is true especially for EV batteries, fuel cell trucks, and electrolyzers. For example, while only 900 fuel cell trucks were sold globally in 2021, the aggregate self-reported capacity by manufacturers was 14,000 trucks.

With that said, there still needs to be a significant increase in manufacturing capacity in the coming decades if demand aligns with the IEA’s 2050 net-zero emissions scenario. Such developments require investments in new equipment and technology, developing the clean energy workforce, access to raw and refined materials, and optimizing production processes to improve efficiency.

What Gives China the Advantage?

Of the above clean energy technologies and their components, China averages 65% of global manufacturing capacity. For certain components, like solar PV wafers, this percentage is as high as 96%.

Here’s a breakdown of China’s manufacturing capacity per clean energy technology.

TechnologyChina’s share of global manufacturing capacity, 2021
Wind (Offshore)70%
Wind (Onshore)59%
Solar PV Systems85%
Electric Vehicles71%
Fuel Cell Trucks47%
Heat Pumps39%
Electrolyzers41%

So, what gives China this advantage in the clean energy technology sector? According to the IEA report, the answer lies in a combination of factors:

The mixture of these factors has allowed China to capture a significant share of the global market for clean technologies while driving down the cost of clean energy worldwide.

As the market for low-emission solutions expands, China’s dominance in the sector will likely continue in the coming years and have notable implications for the global energy and emission landscape.

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Energy

Visualized: Renewable Energy Capacity Through Time (2000–2023)

This streamgraph shows the growth in renewable energy capacity by country and region since 2000.

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The preview image for a streamgraph showing the change in renewable energy capacity over time by country and region.

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The following content is sponsored by National Public Utilities Council

Visualized: Renewable Energy Capacity Through Time (2000–2023)

Global renewable energy capacity has grown by 415% since 2000, or at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%.

However, many large and wealthy regions, including the United States and Europe, maintain lower average annual renewable capacity growth.

This chart, created in partnership with the National Public Utilities Council, shows how each world region has contributed to the growth in renewable energy capacity since 2000, using the latest data release from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Renewable Energy Trends in Developed Economies

Between 2000 and 2023, global renewable capacity increased from 0.8 to 3.9 TW. This was led by China, which added 1.4 TW, more than Africa, Europe, and North America combined. Renewable energy here includes solar, wind, hydro (excluding pumped storage), bioenergy, geothermal, and marine energy.

During this period, capacity growth in the U.S. has been slightly faster than what’s been seen in Europe, but much slower than in China. However, U.S. renewable growth is expected to accelerate due to the recent implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Overall, Asia has shown the greatest regional growth, with China being the standout country in the continent.

Region2000–2023 Growth10-Year Growth (2013–2023)1-Year Growth (2022–2023)
Europe313%88%10%
China1,817%304%26%
United States322%126%9%
Canada57%25%2%

It’s worth noting that Canada has fared significantly worse than the rest of the developed world since 2000 when it comes to renewable capacity additions. Between 2000 and 2023, the country’s renewable capacity grew only by 57%.  

Trends in Developing Economies

Africa’s renewable capacity has grown by 184% since 2000 with a CAGR of 4%. 

India is now the most populous country on the planet, and its renewable capacity is also rapidly growing. From 2000–2023, it grew by 604%, or a CAGR of 8%.

It is worth remembering that energy capacity is not always equivalent to power generation. This is especially the case for intermittent sources of energy, such as solar and wind, which depend on natural phenomena.

Despite the widespread growth of renewable energy worldwide, IRENA emphasizes that global renewable generation capacity must triple from its 2023 levels by 2030 to meet the ambitious targets set by the Paris Agreement.

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