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Renewable Energy in Emerging Economies: Success Stories

Renewable energy has become a crucial aspect of sustainable development in emerging economies. As these countries strive to meet their growing energy demands while reducing their carbon footprint, they have turned to renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power. This shift towards renewable energy has not only helped these economies address their energy needs but has also brought about numerous success stories. In this article, we will explore some of the notable success stories of renewable energy in emerging economies, highlighting the strategies, policies, and initiatives that have contributed to their achievements.

1. China’s renewable energy revolution

China has emerged as a global leader in renewable energy, with its ambitious plans and significant investments in the sector. The country has made remarkable progress in expanding its renewable energy capacity, particularly in solar and wind power. One of the key factors behind China’s success is its strong government support and favorable policies.

The Chinese government has implemented various measures to promote renewable energy, including feed-in tariffs, tax incentives, and subsidies. These policies have encouraged the development of renewable energy projects and attracted both domestic and foreign investments. Additionally, China has invested heavily in research and development, leading to technological advancements and cost reductions in renewable energy technologies.

China’s success in renewable energy can be seen in its impressive capacity installations. For instance, in 2020, China accounted for more than 40% of the global solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions. The country also leads in wind power installations, with the largest onshore and offshore wind farms in the world.

2. India’s Solar Power Revolution

India has also made significant strides in renewable energy, particularly in the solar power sector. The country’s solar power revolution can be attributed to a combination of factors, including favorable policies, falling solar panel prices, and innovative financing models.

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The Indian government launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in 2010, with the aim of achieving 20 GW of solar power capacity by 2022. The mission provided various incentives, such as feed-in tariffs, tax benefits, and subsidies, to promote solar power generation. These policies, coupled with the declining prices of solar panels, have made solar power increasingly competitive with conventional sources of energy.

India has also adopted innovative financing models to overcome the financial barriers associated with solar power projects. For example, the country has implemented the “pay-as-you-go” model, where consumers can install solar panels on their rooftops and pay for the electricity generated on a monthly basis. This approach has made solar power more accessible and affordable for households and businesses.

As a result of these efforts, India has witnessed a significant increase in its solar power capacity. The country achieved its target of 20 GW of installed solar power capacity four years ahead of schedule, and it has now set a new target of 100 GW by 2022.

3. Brazil’s renewable energy transition

Brazil has been actively transitioning to renewable energy sources, with a focus on hydropower and bioenergy. The country has a long history of hydropower generation, and it has been harnessing its abundant water resources to meet its energy needs. Brazil is home to the Itaipu Dam, one of the largest hydropower plants in the world.

In recent years, Brazil has also made significant progress in bioenergy, particularly in the production of ethanol from sugarcane. The country is the world’s second-largest producer of ethanol, and biofuels account for a significant portion of its transportation fuel consumption. Brazil’s success in bioenergy can be attributed to its favorable climate for sugarcane cultivation and the government’s support through policies and incentives.

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However, Brazil is also diversifying its renewable energy mix to reduce its dependence on hydropower and bioenergy. The country has been investing in wind power, with several wind farms being developed along its coastline. Additionally, Brazil has significant solar power potential, and it is gradually tapping into this resource.

4. South Africa’s Renewable Energy Procurement Program

South Africa has implemented a successful renewable energy procurement program, known as the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). The program aims to stimulate private sector investment in renewable energy projects and promote the development of a sustainable energy sector in the country.

Under the REIPPPP, the South African government has conducted a series of competitive bidding rounds, where independent power producers submit proposals for renewable energy projects. The government then selects the most cost-effective projects and signs power purchase agreements with the selected developers.

This procurement program has attracted significant investments in renewable energy projects, particularly in solar and wind power. It has also created job opportunities and contributed to local economic development. As of 2020, the REIPPPP has procured over 6,000 MW of renewable energy capacity, making South Africa one of the leaders in renewable energy in Africa.

5. Morocco’s Solar Power Ambitions

Morocco has set ambitious goals for renewable energy, with a particular focus on solar power. The country has launched the Noor Solar Complex, one of the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in the world. The complex consists of several CSP plants, which use mirrors to concentrate sunlight and generate electricity.

Morocco’s investment in solar power is driven by its commitment to reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating climate change. The country aims to derive 52% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, with a significant portion coming from solar power.

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The Noor Solar Complex has not only helped Morocco increase its renewable energy capacity but has also created job opportunities and attracted foreign investments. The project has received financial support from international organizations, such as the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.


The success stories of renewable energy in emerging economies demonstrate the transformative potential of sustainable energy sources. Countries like China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Morocco have shown that with the right policies, investments, and initiatives, it is possible to achieve significant progress in renewable energy deployment.

These success stories highlight the importance of government support, favorable policies, technological advancements, and innovative financing models in driving the transition towards renewable energy. They also emphasize the economic and environmental benefits that can be derived from renewable energy, such as job creation, energy security, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change and energy security, the experiences of these emerging economies serve as valuable lessons and inspiration for other countries. By learning from their success stories and adopting similar strategies, more nations can accelerate their transition to a sustainable energy future.

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