Blog Post Thursday 10 August 2017
You’ll be glad to know there’s hope for the planet yet. Despite a lack of political will in some countries, the move to renewable energy is pretty much inevitable and some scientists think it’s going to come sooner rather than later.
A recent study by Stanford University researchers predicted that the world could be powered entirely by renewable energy in just 20 to 40 years from now. And given that we already have the technology, it’s not that hard to imagine.
Almost 50 countries that would be adversely affected by climate change have agreed to make their energy production 100% renewable by the year 2050 and countries all over the world are actively embracing solar, wind, and geothermal energy.
Here we look at 12 countries in particular who are leading the way in the switch to renewable energy.
Iceland generates the most clean electricity per person on earth, with almost 100% of its energy coming from renewable sources that make the most of its unique landscape. It now derives all of its energy for electricity and home heating from geothermal and hydroelectric power plants. Its renewable power plants like the geothermal plant at Blue Lagoon even draw significant amounts of tourists every year!
Sweden has always had pretty good environmental credentials and in 2015, they threw down the gauntlet with an ambitious goal: eliminating fossil fuel usage within its borders. They also challenged the rest of the world to a race to become 100% renewable. They’ve increased their own investment in solar power, wind power, energy storage, smart grids, and clean transport.
Because of its small size (just 4.9 million people) and unique geography (67 volcanoes), Costa Rica is able to meet a large part of its energy needs from hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, and wind sources. The country aims to be completely carbon-neutral by the year 2021 and has already achieved some impressive results, running on 100% renewable energy for more than two months twice in the last two years.
Nicaragua is another Central American country where renewable energy is growing in importance. Like Costa Rica, they have a number of volcanoes, making geothermal energy production viable and thanks to government investment in wind, solar, and geothermal energy, their aim of being 90% renewables-powered by the year 2020 appears to be an achievable goal.
The UK is a windy place and wind power is growing in importance. Using a combination of grid-connected wind farms and standalone turbines, the United Kingdom now generates more electricity from wind farms than from coal power plants. Some days, Scotland is able to produce enough wind power to supply over 100% of Scottish households. Neighbouring Ireland also continues to set new records, with enough energy to power more than 1.26 million homes being created on just one windy day in 2015.
For a cloudy country, Germany looks set for a bright future with solar energy. Their renewable energy output including solar has increased more than eightfold since 1990. In 2015, they set a record for meeting up to 78% of the country’s electricity demand with renewables on one highly productive day.
Uruguay is a shining example of how to do it right. Thanks to a supportive regulatory environment and a strong partnership between the public and private sector, the country has invested heavily in wind and solar power, without using subsidies or increasing consumer costs. And as a result, it now boasts a national energy supply that’s 95% renewables-powered, achieved in less than 10 years.
Denmark aims to be 100% fossil-fuel-free by 2050 and it plans to use wind power to achieve that goal. They already set a world record in 2014, producing almost 40% of their overall electricity needs from wind power and the latest figures put them firmly on track to meet their first goal of obtaining 50% of their electricity from renewables by the year 2020.
They may be the world’s largest polluter, but China is also the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy, with huge investment levels both at home and overseas. China now owns: five of the world’s six largest solar-module manufacturing firms; the largest wind-turbine manufacturer; the world’s largest lithium ion manufacturer; and the world’s largest electricity utility. China is fully committed to reducing fossil fuel consumption and with its heavily polluted cities has every incentive for doing so.
Morocco is a country with an abundance of sunshine (up to 350 days a year), so it has wisely decided to invest heavily in solar powered energy production. The first phase of the world’s biggest concentrated solar plant recently opened in Morocco and in combination with their wind and hydro production facilities, is predicted to produce enough energy for more than one million Moroccan households by 2018.
The United States of America has one of the world’s largest installed solar PV capacities and an installed wind energy capacity second only to China. But it is also one of the world’s biggest energy consumers, which tends to cancel out much of its renewable capacity. Nevertheless, if more attention was paid to renewables over fossil fuels, it has been estimated that the U.S. could reduce its emissions by almost 80% in only 15 years, without impacting on consumer electricity costs.
In the past, Kenya has been forced to import electricity from neighbouring countries, but they are working hard to reverse this by investing heavily in geothermal energy production, which accounted for more than half their energy mix in 2015. They also have Africa’s largest wind farm, providing another 20% of their installed electricity generating capacity.
If all this clean green energy talk has made you feel like you want to do more for the environment yourself, we’re here to help at Click Energy. Energy efficiency is about lots of little steps adding up to big ones and we want to encourage you in every way we can.
And the best way we can do that is by making your energy costs more affordable. If you drive an electric vehicle for example, we have a plan for you called Click EV, which provides lower energy usage rates. And if you have solar panels on your roof, we offer a choice of solar energy plans, with discounts on both usage and supply. Find out more or get in touch today.