Renewable Energy Revolution: Developing Nations Take Center Stage

As they embrace renewable energy, the developing world is playing a pivotal role in driving the renewable energy revolution.

The Rise of Developing Nations in Renewable Energy

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), developing nations now account for the majority of global investments in renewable energy. In 2018, these countries invested $66 billion in renewable power capacity, surpassing the investments made by developed nations. This trend has continued to gain momentum, with developing nations increasing their investments in renewable energy by 7% in 2019.

The factors contributing to this surge in renewable energy adoption are plentiful:

  • Abundant Natural Resources: Developing nations often possess rich renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal. These resources present massive opportunities for harnessing clean energy.
  • Energy Demand and Access: Many developing nations face significant energy demand and lack reliable access to electricity. Renewable energy offers a viable solution to meet this demand while providing decentralized and affordable power.
  • Economic Benefits: Investing in renewable energy infrastructure creates employment opportunities and stimulates economic growth. According to IRENA, renewable energy employed 11 million people worldwide in 2018, with the majority of jobs located in developing nations.
  • Climate Commitments: The Paris Agreement and other international commitments have urged developing nations to transition to cleaner energy sources. Renewable energy is seen as a crucial component in achieving greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Key Advantages of Renewable Energy for Developing Nations

The adoption of renewable energy brings several key advantages for developing nations:

  • Energy Security: Relying on indigenous renewable resources reduces dependence on costly fossil fuel imports, providing long-term energy security.
  • Sustainable Development: Renewable energy contributes to sustainable development by minimizing environmental impact, reducing pollution, and ensuring a healthier living environment for the population.
  • Cost-Competitiveness: The declining costs of renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines, make clean energy increasingly cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels.
  • Decentralization: Renewable energy systems can be deployed on a small scale, facilitating decentralized power generation and enabling rural electrification in remote areas.
  • Technological Progress: Embracing renewable energy facilitates technological advancements, as developing nations focus on innovation and building a sustainable energy infrastructure.

Renewable Energy Leaders in Developing Nations

Several developing nations have emerged as leaders in the renewable energy revolution:


China leads the way in renewable energy investments, accounting for over 30% of global investments in 2019. The country has set ambitious targets to increase their share of renewables in the energy mix and is the largest global market for solar panels.


India ranks among the top countries for renewable energy installations. With a target of 175 GW in renewable energy capacity by 2022, India has made significant strides in solar and wind energy. The country is also implementing policies to promote clean transportation.


Brazil is known for its substantial hydroelectric power capacity but is increasingly diversifying its renewable energy sources. The country has favorable conditions for wind power and has seen remarkable growth in wind installations in recent years.


Kenya has made remarkable progress in developing its geothermal resources and has become a leader in geothermal power production. Geothermal energy accounts for nearly half of Kenya’s electricity generation, reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.


The renewable energy revolution is gaining momentum in developing nations. These countries are harnessing their abundant natural resources and recognizing the economic, environmental, and social benefits that renewable energy provides. As they embrace clean energy technologies, developing nations are playing a crucial role in shaping a sustainable and low-carbon future.

If you want to learn more about the renewable energy revolution in developing nations, check out this comprehensive report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA):

Link to IRENA report: IRENA Annual Report

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