Electricity allows people to read after dark, lets fridges keep food fresh and ensures vaccines are kept cold and safe to use. Access to affordable, reliable electricity is fundamental to living a healthy life, but it’s also the largest source of climate-warming emissions. That’s why it’s important that researchers and decision-makers know, among other things, where power plants are and how much power they generate.
Despite the importance of this information, there hasn’t been an open-access database of the world’s power plants until recently. The Global Power Plant Database, developed by World Resources Institute (WRI) and partners, fills this gap by collecting data on thousands of power plants around the world. Released in April 2018, it is the most comprehensive, freely available database of the world’s power plants. We recently updated the database and now show 29,910 power plants in the map below. The database contains all fuel types, from conventional coal and gas to renewables such as wind and solar, which you can see in the colors below. You can also click on different power plants to see their capacity and estimated power generation in 2017; for some plants, more information is available, such as commissioning year and ownership.
The power plant database was developed by leveraging information from over 600 sources, including official government data from several countries around the world.
We estimate that the database covers about 85% of the world’s total installed power capacity. Coverage differs by fuel type, and there’s more information available on the operating capacities of nuclear, coal, hydropower and geothermal plants than those of solar, wind and biomass plants.