In 2011, the total electricity consumption per person in Réunion was approximately 368 watts. Fossil fuels took the lion's share, providing about 255 watts per person, while low-carbon sources provided a bit over 113 watts per person. This is below the global average of 412 watts per person. Réunion's reliance on fossil energy was significant. The breakdown of low-carbon sources shows that hydroelectricity held the majority portion at around 51 watts per person, biofuels contributed about 43 watts, while solar energy gave close to 18 watts per person. On the other hand, wind energy accounted for close to none at about 1 watt per person. The relatively low levels of electricity generation might have led to an increase in energy costs, less energy security, and added to the global carbon emissions. Importantly, it is worth noting that Réunion neither imports nor exports any electricity from or to other regions.
Réunion can benefit greatly from countries leading in the generation of low-carbon electricity. For instance, nuclear-powered countries such as Sweden, France, or Finland generate significantly higher electricity per person of about 559, 526, and 517 watts respectively. While Réunion might not share similar geographical or economic traits with these countries, transitioning towards nuclear power can greatly enhance its electricity generation. On the other hand, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are dominant in wind energy production with around 369, 363, and 336 watts per person respectively. Hence, Réunion could invest more in wind farms to increase its low-carbon electricity generation. Solar energy, as seen in Australia and United Arab Emirates, can also be a viable addition, generating approximately 147 and 129 watts per person respectively.
Looking at the history of low-carbon electricity in Réunion, there have been slight fluctuations and modest growth in overall generation. In the early 2000s, the focus was on hydroelectricity and biofuels, but the progress was slow, with almost no change in production until 2007. An interest in biofuels was shown with a small increase in its production in 2004 and 2006. Towards the late 2000s, Réunion started exploring the use of solar and wind energy. The history of solar energy, in particular, denotes consistent growth. Despite the decrease in hydroelectric power in 2009 and 2011, they started investing in solar energy around the same period, with a noticeable increase in power generation in 2010 and 2011. Nevertheless, the progress in wind energy utilization remained stagnant through the years.