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China is driving global renewable energy growth, in 6 graphs

china flag (Shutterstock)

Every year, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century — mercifully abbreviated as REN21 — puts out a massive Global Status Report on renewable energy. It is an energy nerd's dream, packed with the latest data on clean energy around the world.

When such reports are released, we here at Vox are legally obligated to do a charts post, lest we be fined by the Explainer Authorities. So let's get to it.

One of the more interesting themes this year is just how clearly China is pushing the developing world into the lead on renewables. Let's tell the story in graphs.

1) Solar is booming...

solar pv capacity and additions (REN21)

2) ...driven by dizzying growth in China, which has leaped to first place

solar pv by country (REN21)

3) Wind is also booming, though at a slower rate...

wind capacity & additions (REN21)

4) ...with China extending its already formidable lead

wind capacity and additions by country (REN21)

5) While renewable energy investment declines in the European Union and plateaus elsewhere, it rises in China...

renewable energy investment around the world (REN21)

6) ...pushing the developing world into the lead for the first time

global investment in renewables (REN21)

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