Sea Level Rise and Low Lying Islands

titles_aquaculture oceans_4

Written for Coursera (MOOC) Class ‘Climate Change‘ by the University of Melbourne (Sept 2013).

Because of their low elevation and small size, many small island states are threatened with partial or virtually total inundation by future rises in sea level. In addition, increased intensity or frequency of cyclones could harm many of these islands. The existence or well-being of many small island states is threatened by climate change and sea-level rise over the next century and beyond.’  – IPCC 

In a World Bank Report, ‘Convenient Solutions to an Inconvenient Truth’, published in 2009, it lists the countries with the highest risk of Climate Change threats.

World Bank Top 10 Risks

Looking at Sea Level and the threat to the countries listed, I want to have a closer look at the situation for those with most to lose, who have least political or economic influence.  The Alliance of Small island States includes the low-lying countries of interest.

Established in 1990 to provide a consolidated front in voicing the very real and immediate threats posed by global warming.  It was the first body to submit a draft text in the Kyoto negotiations in 1994.

AOSIS Members

The 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) projected century-end sea levels using the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, see the graph below.  Average sea levels are predicted to rise between 0.21 and 0.45 metres by 2100.  Also note that subsequent independent studies have found the IPCC estimates to be conservative.

CHART_IPCC AR4 Sea Level Forecast

Rises in sea level has implications for coastal habitats and economies, specifically in relation to freshwater contamination and loss of land (including supported infrastructure).


Gaining independence from the UK in 1979, it remains part of the Commonwealth and is a parliamentary republic.  It comprises of 32 atolls and one coral island.  It has strong relations with Australia, Japan and New Zealand.  Approximately 90% of the population live on the Gilbert Islands, with 33% occupying an area of just 16 km2.  It is one of the most impoverished nations on earth, with little hope of retaining its territory.

It already suffers from overcrowding, with 4,700 inhabitants resettled in 1988, and in 2008 the Kiribati government approached Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as refugees, in preparation for sea inundation.


The president of the Refugee Council of Australia has advised the Australian government that it should prepare to create a new migration category for those fleeing the effects of climate change.[Guardian 16 April 2013, ]

Risk Factors & Recent Impacts

Rising sea level is expected to continue in Kiribati, as with elsewhere. By conservative estimates, shown in the table below, by 2030 (under a probable high emission scenario) this rise is projected to be in the range of 5 – 14 cm.  Sea-level rise combined with natural annual changes will increase the impact of storm surges and coastal flooding.

A 50-centimetre rise, which is now considered a conservative projection for this century unless emissions are curbed, threatens the very existence of this small nation.


  • ‘Kiribati is pretty much all coastal. The people of Kiribati are witness to unprecedented coastal erosion, on both beaches and inland.’
  • ‘Many people are now being displaced from the traditional house plots they have occupied for a century or more.  Many more people are losing their food  sources: coconut trees, papaya trees and other varieties of vegetation.’
  • Freshwater sources are becoming more contaminated by sea water.
  • The majority Kiribati’s islands are so narrow that there really is no place to go. Kiribati has more than 100,000 citizens and its main island, Tarawa, suffers from severe overcrowding.
  • ‘The World Bank recently predicted the capital island of Tarawa, where nearly half the country’s population resides, will be 25 to 54 per cent inundated by water in the south and 55 to 80 percent in the north by 2050 unless significant adaptation is undertaken.’
  • ‘The village of Tebunginako in Abaiang Island has already had to relocate due to the effects of severe coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion.’

Kiribati Official Site and Kiribati Video Link ]


The Maldives is an Island nation (1,190 islands in 20 atolls) in the Indian Ocean.  Largely, the Maldives have been an independent nation throughout its history, with short periods of intervention by Portugal, Netherlands and UK from which it became independent in 1965, forming a constitutional republic.

Already vulnerable to flooding due to storm surges and earthquake, rising sea levels associated with global warming are making human habitation here more precarious.  This part of South Asia is close to the equator, where sea level rise is greater than in polar ocean, and the Maldives confronting the biggest increases of between 0.100 – 0.115 metres, according to a World Bank scientific report on 19 June 2013.

[ ]

Expected pertubations in the monsoon system combined with elevated peak temperatures put water and food resources at severe risk.  An extremely wet monsoon, currently has a chance of occurring once in 100 years, is estimated to occur every 10 years by 2100.


Former President Mohamed Nasheed holding the world’s first underwater council of ministers in 2009.  The 30-minute cabinet meeting held six metres below sea-level was intended to show what the future could hold for the Maldives.

Risk Factors & Recent Impacts

  • 199 islands are inhabited with a population of slightly over 300,000 people. The highest point of land is 2 metres.
  • The reefs host over 1,900 species of fish, 187 coral species, and 350 crustaceans.
  • Rising sea temperatures threaten coral reefs and cause bleaching and death.  Worst damage is in the areas that are compromised by pollutants, and damaged by physical agitation.
  • Vulnerability to Climate Change threats is exacerbated by damage to coral reefs which diminishes their protective function, a negative cycle of impact.
  • With the melting of polar ice caps, the Maldives is also exposed to the risks of sea-level rise. Future sea level is projected to rise within the range of 10 to 100 centimeters by the year 2100, which means the entire country could be submerged in the worst-case scenario.

[ Maldives Video Link ]

TABLE_Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is an Island nation forming part of Micronesia in the Pacific Ocean, with 34 low-lying coral atolls and 1,156 individual islands.  Being variously conquered, occupied and governed by Spain, Germany, Japan and USA, the nation gained independence in 1979, forming a democratic republic.

Post world war two, the USA tested 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands, prompting the Atomic Energy Commission to describe Islands as “the most contaminated place in the world”.   According to ‘Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940’,

$759 million was paid to the Marshallese Islanders in compensation for their exposure to U.S. nuclear testing, and in 1952 with the test of the first U.S. hydrogen bomb, the island of Elugelab in the Enewetak atoll was destroyed.

Party to the ‘Compact of Free Association’ with the United States, gives the USA sole responsibility for defense of the Islands.  It also permits Islanders to live and work in the United States.

PHOTO_Marshall Islands

‘Along the coastline of Majuro, Marshall Islands, old cars and trash are being piled up in an attempt to make seawalls and stop the rising water levels. In most places in Majuro there is no more than 50 – 100 meters in width between the Pacific and the Lagoon.’  – Greenpeace.

Risk Factors & Recent Impacts 

  • 2008:  Extreme waves and high tides caused widespread flooding in the capital city of Majuro and other urban centres. (1 metre above sea level), prompting the government declared a state of emergency.
  • 2013:  Heavy waves breached the city walls of Majuro, while drought afflicted northern atolls of the Marshall Islands.
  • Drought affected 6,000 Islanders, surviving on less than one litre of water per day.
  • Compounded by crops failures and food shortages, the impact on health was significant with the spread of drought-related diseases such as diarrhoea, pink eye and influenza.

[ Marshall Islands Video Link ]


Tuvalu is an Island nation in the Pacific Ocean (3 reef islands and 6 atolls). Initially colonized by Polynesians, the Islands (as part of the Ellice Island group) became a British protectorate in 1892.  Tuvalu became independent in 1974, forming a parliamentary democracy, but remains part of the Commonwealth.

With a very low average elevation, Tuvalu is under threat from sea level rise.  On top of this, these Islands (together with other islands in the region) are subject to annual king tide events which occur at the end of the summer.  These raise the sea level higher than a normal high tide.

King tide events cause flooding over low lying areas.  Even worse flooding is experienced during ‘La Niña’ years when local storms and high waves are particularly prevalent. Estimates of future, sea level rise, which may threaten to submerge the nation entirely, are of the order 0.20 –0.40 metres by 2100.

In this probable scenario, Tuvalu will become uninhabitable.


Risk Factors & Recent Impacts

  • A typical high tide reaches about 2.5 metres,  a King Tide can be more than 3 metres.
  • A small rise (0.5 metres) will see parts of the islands disappear.
  • Islands are founded on coral which is porous and so saving these islands would be very expensive.
  • With a population of just 11,000 people, will the outside agencies think it is economically feasible?

[ Tuvalu & Kiribati Video Link ]

Scotland Recycling: Zero Waste Plan and Beyond

titles_energy efficiency_4

Written for Coursera (MOOC) Class ‘Global Sustainable Energy, Past, Present and Future‘ by the University of Florida (June 2013).

In Scotland, the devolved government launched ‘Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan’ in 2010.  Prior to this, recycling rates were steadily increasing in step with environmental awareness amongst the populous of 5.3 million.  This plan forms part of the suite of publications which supports the climate change legislation, Climate Change Delivery Plan (2009) and the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

These policies are aligned within the European Union ‘Waste Framework Directive’.

The main targets of the plan are for 70% recycling of all waste and a 5% landfill limit by 2025.  It aims to achieve this by adopting the hierarchical; waste prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery, approach.

The presentation document also highlights the need for landfill bans for specific wastes, improved source segregation and separate collection of waste and restrictions on inputs to energy from waste.  The plan includes the instigation of regulatory reporting of resource use by all businesses, to give a clearer picture of current waste levels and future improvements.

In 2008, Scotland produced almost 20 million tonnes of waste.

PIE_Scotland Waste

Recognition of the national mindset change required towards viewing waste product as a potential resource, as well as encouraging local authorities to take a lead role in this transformation by providing clear information regarding good waste management habits and collection practices, lie at the heart of the plan.

The Scottish government sees waste as an economic opportunity rather than a problem.  It’s strategy is to develop sustainable, high value markets for recycled waste, and it aims to provide support in the development of infrastructure to this end.

Together with SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency), and the local authorities, the government aims to raise awareness of the need for local and personal responsibility in waste management, through education.  Community buy-in is seen as crucial to the success of this initiative.

Local Authority Collection

It is the responsibility of the 32 local authorities (councils) in Scotland to collect and ‘dispose of’ waste in their area.

Video Link >  Recycle Now (Waste & Resource Action Programme):


PIC_Recycling Collection

In my area, there is an alternating weekly collection of waste put into colour coded 240 litre ‘wheely bins’, one week green/black general non-recycled waste, the next week blue recycle waste.  The recycle bin is only for plastic bottles, paper and card, and tins and cans.

Video Links >  Recycle Now (Waste & Resource Action Programme):

Plastic Bottles

PIC_Recycling Bottles


PIC_Recycling Cans

Urban areas also benefit from a garden waste collection in brown bins, which accepts grass cuttings, hedge trimmings etc.

Video Link >  Recycle Now (Waste & Resource Action Programme):

Garden Waste

PIC_Recycling Garden Waste

Video Link >  Recycle Now (Waste & Resource Action Programme):

Materials Recycling Facility (MRF)

PIC_Recycling Garden MRF

British Glass in their ‘Glass Sustainability Report’ of 2007, states that ‘Glass recycling is an important environmental measure as it works for sustainability across the lifecycle.’

In comparison to recycling glass back into new glass containers, it says ‘alternative uses, such as aggregates, deliver lower levels of reduction in CO2, the glass industry believes strongly that all alternative markets will be important to meeting higher targets and provide a better environmental use than landfill.’

‘The amount of glass recycled to make new bottles and jars increased by 10,000 tonnes to a record 752,000 tonnes during 2006 according to estimates from British Glass. This means that UK manufactured bottles and jars contained an average of 35.5 per cent of recycled glass.’

This suggests that there are no significant quality issues arising from using recycled glass as a feedstock.  In a review of British Glass literature on recycling I found no reference to quality concerns.

My local council state that other plastic containers and bags are not accepted due to possible contamination by contents and the difficulty in identifying and sorting the various types of plastic, and due to the lack of reliable markets for this type of recyclate.  This is a barrier to higher recycling rates.

However, the council promises that as new markets emerge, more materials will be accepted for recycling.  So the solution is to develop these markets.

Video Link >  Recycle Now (Waste & Resource Action Programme):


PIC_Recycling Glass

Food Waste

PIC_Recycling Food


PIC_Recycling Garden Cartons

Throughout Scotland’s communities there are recycling banks for recycling different types of glass; clear, green and brown.  There are usually collection bins for old clothing.  Other facilities allow for collection of  batteries (car & household), fluorescent light tubes, fridges & freezers and other electrical equipment.

Video Link >  Recycle Now (Waste & Resource Action Programme):


PIC_Recycling Electrical

Alternative Routes

Organisations such as the ‘Freecycle’ network help facilitate reuse with an online itinerary of unwanted items, and a means of communication to arrange uplift by those in need.

There are also many local charity shops which take unwanted items and sell them on for a donation.  These mainly deal in furniture, clothing and books.  There is also a local bookstore which deals in second-hand as well as new books.

Anaerobic Digesters 

Linking the current recycling topic with our interests in energy, anaerobic digestion is a technology which spans both areas and is gaining in recognition as an economic means of converting organic waste product, food and garden waste, into energy with useful by-products.

It enlists micro-organisms to degrade organic material, to produce bio-gas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, which can be used directly as a fuel or refined to the quality of natural gas.  The residue from digestion can be used as a fertiliser or soil conditioner.

It is regarded as a renewable energy source and helps reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses by; replacing fossil fuels, reducing energy usage in waste treatment, reducing methane emissions in landfill, and replacing industrial fertilisers.

DIAG_Recycling Anarobic Digestion

UK Gov: Low Carbon Technologies (2015)

titles_energy production_4

A summary of the UK Government (Dept of Energy and Climate Change) Policy Paper ‘2010 to 2015 government policy: low carbon technologies‘, May 2015.

Increasing the amount of energy the UK gets from low-carbon technologies such as renewables and nuclear, and reducing emissions through carbon capture and storage (CCS), will help us to:

  • make sure the UK has a secure supply of energy
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow down climate change
  • stimulate investment in new jobs and businesses

Innovation in energy technologies is essential if the UK is to meet our challenging future climate change goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

CHART_UK GHG Emissions 1990-2013

(UK Gov DECC: Final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics: 1990-2013)

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted from fossil fuel consumption.  Other GHGs which are monitored and make up the ‘basket’ covered by the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol include:  methane (CH4) , nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

CHART_UK Emissions Targets 2008-2012

(UK Gov DECC: Final UK greenhouse gas emissions national statistics: 1990-2013)

We are legally committed to meeting 15% of the UK’s energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.

  • Bioenergy has the potential to provide about 30% of the 2020 target
  • We introduced the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme on 1 April 2010. FITs support organisations, businesses, communities and individuals to generate low-carbon electricity using small-scale (5 megawatts (MW) or less total installed capacity) systems. An organisation, business, community or individual installs a small-scale low-carbon electricity generation system (solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, hydro, micro-CHP or anaerobic digestion).
  • New Nuclear Power stations will help the UK reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and secure its energy supply. The nuclear industry plans to develop around 16 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear power.
  • Wave and Tidal Stream Energy has the potential to meet up to 20% of the UK’s current electricity demand, representing a 30-to-50 gigawatt (GW) installed capacity.
  • The UK does not have the deep Geothermal Power potential of volcanic regions like New Zealand and Iceland, but in some locations underground temperatures have the potential for deep geothermal projects. These are at depths of over 1km for heat only projects or 4 to 5km for power projects.
  • The UK has some of the best Wind Energy resource in Europe, with 20 offshore windfarms (including the 4 largest farms in the world) and a 3308 MW capacity.  The cost of Onshore Wind Power has fallen and we have been able to cut the subsidy accordingly. In 2012 we announced we would reduce support for onshore wind under the RO by 10% between 2013 and 2017.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage is the only way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep fossil fuels (coal and gas) in the UK’s electricity supply mix. To bring down costs and allow CCS to be more widely used, the full chain of capture, transport and storage needs to be built and operated on a commercial scale at power stations that are already generating electricity.

UK Energy Statistics 2009-2013 (Digest of UK Energy Statistics, UK Gov)

Graphs from data in tables.

CHART_UK Primary Energy 2009-2013 DUKES

CHART_UK Primary Energy MTOe Share 2009-2013 DUKES

PIE_UK Primary Energy Perc Share 2013 DUKES

CHART_UK Renew Energy Mtoe 2009-2013 DUKES

CHART_UK Renew Energy Abs MTOe 2009-2013 DUKES

PIE_UK Renew Energy Perc Share 2013 DUKES

From DECC Statistics (DUKES Digest of UK Energy Statistics)

PIE_DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

FLOW_DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

TABLE_6B DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

CHART_ 6.3 DECC Dukes Renewables 2013

(UKgov DUKES Ch.6 Renewable Sources of Energy 31 July 2014)

UK Energy Statistics Index

titles_media notes_4

DUKES: Digest of UK Energy Statistics (UK Gov Dept of Energy and Climate Change)

The Digest, sometimes known as DUKES, is an essential source of energy information. It contains:

  • extensive tables, charts and commentary
  • separate sections on coal, petroleum, gas, electricity, renewables and combined heat and power
  • a comprehensive picture of energy production and use over the last five years, with key series taken back to 1970.


  1. Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)
  2. Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics internet content
  3. Statistical press release: Digest of UK energy statistics 2014
  4. Energy: chapter 1, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)
  5. Solid fuels and derived gases: chapter 2, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)
  6. Petroleum: chapter 3, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)
  7. Natural gas: chapter 4, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)
  8. Electricity: chapter 5, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)
  9. Renewable sources of energy: chapter 6, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)
  10. Combined heat and power: chapter 7, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics (DUKES)

Statistics at DECC

DECC publishes National and Official statistics covering energy, climate change, energy efficiency, fuel poverty and related areas, which are produced in accordance with the statutory and other arrangements described in the guide to national and official statistics.

  • Emissions and Climate Change statistics cover annual and sub national data on greenhouse gas emissions as well as quarterly data based on changes in CO2 emissions, and links to other Climate Change data.
  • Energy Sector statistics cover annual, quarterly and monthly data for the key forms of energy, coal, oil, gas, electricity and renewables covering production, trade and use. The annual data are the most comprehensive, whilst monthly data provide timely data based on fewer variables.
  • Energy Price statistics cover annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly data on prices to households and business, the cost of motor fuels and international comparisons
  • Energy Efficiency statistics cover the monitoring of some of DECC’s key policies such as Green Deal and Smart Meters, as well as our innovative National Energy Efficiency Data-framework (NEED) which is key in understanding more about energy use
  • Sub-national energy consumption statistics covers a wide range of data on energy use at all levels from local authority to lower level super output area. These data are drawn from analysis of all meters or modelled for non-metered fuels and should be used for sub national analysis, not national totals.
  • Fuel Poverty statistics cover data on fuel poverty in England at national and local authority levels.
  • Energy statistics publications and press notices cover the statistical publications produced by DECC such as DUKES (Digest of UK Energy Statistics), ECUK (Energy Consumption in the UK) and Energy Trends. Key compendium publications are UK Energy in Brief and UK Energy Sector Indicators, both of which give a wide overview of all DECC statistics.

Energy Efficiency Statistics

Sub-national Energy Consumption Statistics

Renewable Energy – Global Status 2014 (Capacity)

titles_energy production_4

The report from REN21, a Renewable Energy Policy Network, provides commentary, data and graphics on renewable energy across the globe.


The latest report ‘GSR2014‘ is a  216 page document (PDF Download), based on the latest available data.

Here are a selection of Graphics contained in the report for Global Energy, Bio Energy, Geothermal Energy, Solar Energy and Wind Energy.

There are links provided to relevant wikipedia pages for technology information.

Global Energy

Renewable energy provided an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012, and continued to grow strongly in 2013.  Of this total share in 2012, traditional biomass, which currently is used primarily for cooking and heating in remote and rural areas of developing countries, accounted for about 9%, and modern renewables increased their share to approximately 10%.

Renewable Energy Share of Global (Final) Energy Consumption 2012

CHART_Global Energy Share Renewables 2012

Growth Rates of Renewables (and Biofuels) 2008-2013

CHART_Increases in Global Energy Renewables 2013

Global Electricity Generation by Renewables (2013)

CHART_Global Electricity Share Renewables 2013

Renewable Power Capacities: World, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and Top 6 Countries in 2013

CHART_Global Renewable Capacities World_BRICS_Top 6 2013

Bio Energy


Biomass consumption continues to increase worldwide for the provision of heat and electricity. The production of liquid and gaseous biofuels for transport and stationary applications is also rising. Approximately 60% of total biomass used for energy purposes is traditional biomass: fuel wood (some converted to charcoal), crop residues, and animal dung that are gathered by hand and usually combusted in open fires or inefficient stoves for cooking, heat for dwellings, and some lighting. The remaining biomass is used for modern bioenergy.

Global Production of Ethanol, Biodiesel and Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) 2000-2013

CHART_Bioenergy Global Production Ethanol Biodiesel HVO 2000-2013

Global Production of Wood Pellets 2000-2013

CHART_Bioenergy Global Production Wood Pellets 2000-2013

Geothermal Energy


Geothermal resources provide energy in the form of electricity and direct heating and cooling, totalling an estimated 600 PJ (167 TWh) in 2013. Geothermal electricity generation is estimated to be a little less than half of the total final geothermal output, at 76 TWh, with the remaining 91 TWh (328 PJ) representing direct use. Some geothermal plants produce both electricity and thermal output for various heat applications.

Global Geothermal Power Capacity 2013

CHART_Geothermal Global Capacity 2013

Hydro Electricity


An estimated 40 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2013, increasing total global capacity by about 4% to approximately 1,000 GW.

Global hydropower generation, which varies each year with hydrological conditions, was estimated at 3,750 TWh in 2013. An estimated 2 GW of pumped storage capacity was added in 2013, bringing the global total to 135–140 GW.

The lion’s share of all new capacity in 2013 was installed by China, with significant additions by Turkey, Brazil, Vietnam, India, and Russia.

Hydro Power Global Capacity Share 2013

CHART_Global Hydro Power 2013

Hydro Power New (Additional) Capacity Top 6 Countries 2013

CHART_Global Hydro Power Top 6 Additions 2013

Solar Energy


Solar Photovoltaic (PV panels)

The global solar PV market had a record year, after a brief slowdown, installing more capacity than any other renewable technology except perhaps hydropower.

More than 39 GW was added, bringing total capacity to approximately 139 GW.1 Almost half of all PV capacity in operation was added in the past two years, and 98% has been installed since the beginning of 2004.

Solar PV Global Capacity 2004-2013

CHART_Global Solar PV Capacity 2004-2013

Solar PV Top 10 Countries 2013

CHART_Global Solar PV Top 10 Countries 2013

Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSP)

The concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) market continued to advance in 2013 after record growth in 2012. Total global capacity increased by nearly 0.9 GW, up 36%, to more than 3.4 GW. The United States and Spain continued their global market leadership.

However, a global shift to areas of high direct normal irradiation (DNI) in developing-country markets is accelerating. Global installed capacity of CSP has increased nearly 10-fold since 2004; during the five-year period from the end of 2008 to the end of 2013, total global capacity grew at an average annual rate approaching 50%.

CSP Global Capacity 2004-2013

CHART_Global Solar CSP Capacity 2004-2013

Solar Thermal (Heating and Cooling)

Solar thermal technologies contribute significantly to hot water production in many countries, and increasingly to space heating and cooling as well as industrial processes. In 2012i, the world added 55.4 GWth (more than 79 million m2) of solar heat capacity, increasing the cumulative installed capacity of all collector types in operation by over 14% for a year-end total of 283.4 GWth. 

An estimated 53.7 GWth (almost 97%) of the market was glazed water systems and the rest was unglazed water systems mainly for swimming pool heating (3%), as well as unglazed and glazed air collector systems (<1%).2 Glazed and unglazed water systems provided an estimated 239.7 TWh (863 PJ) of heat annually.

Solar Water Heating Global Capacity and Top 10 Countries 2012

CHART_Global Solar Heating Capacity and Top 10 Countries 2012

Solar Water Heating Global Capacity 2000-2013CHART_Global Solar Water Heating Capacity 2000-2013

Wind Energy


More than 35 GW of wind power capacity was added in 2013, bringing the global total above 318 GW.  

Following several record years, the wind power market declined nearly 10 GW compared to 2012, reflecting primarily a steep drop in the U.S. market.

The top 10 countries accounted for 85% of year-end global capacity, but there are dynamic and emerging markets in all regions. By the end of 2013, at least 85 countries had seen commercial wind activity, while at least 71 had more than 10 MW of reported capacity by year’s end, and 24 had more than 1 GW in operation.

Annual growth rates of cumulative wind power capacity have averaged 21.4% since the end of 2008, and global capacity has increased eightfold over the past decade.

Global Wind Power Capacity 2000-2013

CHART_Global Wind Power Capacity 2000-2013

Wind Power Additions (Top 10 Countries) 2013

CHART_Wind Power Additions (Top 10 Countries) 2013