In the year 2021, around 86% of New Caledonia's electricity came from fossil sources, marking a significant reliance on non-renewable forms of energy. Yet, progress has been made in setting foundations for low-carbon electricity which accounts for almost 14% of the energy mix. The leading type of this clean, sustainable electricity comes from hydro sources, accounting for about half of low-carbon electricity or 7% of the total. This is followed by solar energy holding a little over one third of the low-carbon share, or 5% of total electricity, and wind energy contributing to nearly 2% of the country's total.
Observations from the global stage suggest several pathways New Caledonia could consider to increase low-carbon electricity generation. Denmark and Uruguay for instance, have managed to derive more than 50% and 40% of their energy respectively, from wind power. This could be a viable direction for New Caledonia considering its coastal geography which could foster wind farms. Countries like France, Slovakia, and Ukraine, on the other hand have made significant strides in nuclear energy, which forms over 50% of their electricity charge. Although implementing nuclear plants may need significant capital investment and technological expertise, these countries' achievements suggest it is a route worth exploring. Lastly, given the tropical climate of New Caledonia, developing solar energy, as seen in countries like Chile and Australia where it forms about 20% of the mix, could also offer increased low-carbon generation.
Looking back through the history of New Caledonia's low-carbon electricity generation, hydro-power has played a key role but with a turbulent journey. The new millennia started off with a marginal decrease in hydro-power in 2001. Progress was slow and steady over the next decade, with the hydro portion waning and waxing, overall tending towards a minor increase in generation by 2019. The turn of the previous decade marked an important milestone with the introduction of solar energy into the mix. Since then, solar and hydro power seem to have been in a stable state with a couple minor fluctuations. As recent as 2021, while there was no change in solar generation, hydro saw a slight decrease. Overall, the new millennium has seen New Caledonia make important strides in low-carbon electricity generation. However, there is still significant room for the growth of clean, sustainable energy in the country's energy mix.