World-wide countries are pursuing clean renewable energy, glad to reap the economic and health benefits. This is proving to be the most exciting emerging industry since the IT boom. China, alone, plans to create thirteen million renewable jobs by 2020. It’s quite inspiring reviewing all the progress; here is a succinct snapshot provided by the Climate Reality Project.
Sweden – This year, the first country to generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewables. They are committed to eliminating fossil fuel usage and are investing in solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids and clean transport.
Costa Rica – 99% of their electricity came from renewables in 2015. They are capitalizing on hydroelectric, geothermal, solar and wind.
Nicaragua – Renewables comprised up to 54 percent of their electricity production in 2015. Their goals are to reach 90 percent by 2020 with an emphasis on wind, solar and geothermal sources.
Scotland – In 2015 wind power met 97 percent of the country’s household electricity needs.
Germany – This country leads the world in solar PV capacity and meets 78 percent of their electricity demand from renewables. An amazing accomplishment, given this country is quite cloudy. When choosing solar panels for our place of business, we chose the best, a German product. That came as no surprise. In 2008 my daughter had the honor of participating in and presenting the Texas A&M project at the world-wide Solar Decathlon competition at our Capitol Mall. Germany innovation handily won first place.
Uruguay – After less than 10 years of effort, Uruguay now is 95 percent powered by renewables focusing on wind and solar.
Denmark – Given their high winds, they focused on wind turbines, meeting 42% of their electricity needs in 2015.
China – By 2014 China had the most installed wind energy capacity and the second highest installed solar PV capacity. Besides good economics, China knows renewables reduce pollution. Their citizens will appreciate fewer air quality “red alerts”; perhaps eventually they won’t have to wear face masks. Never to miss a marketing opportunity, they sell face masks in a variety of colors! While visiting South Korea last year, I found colorful face masks to be quite common. I was told governmental officials frequently alert their citizens when prevailing winds are bringing in toxic Chinese yellow dust.
Morocco – Capitalizing on their sunny skies, they opened the first phase of the largest concentrated solar plant in the world this year.
Kenya – In 2015, geothermal covered 51 percent of their electricity needs. They are currently building one of Africa’s biggest wind farms to cover 20 percent of their electricity needs; combined efforts 71% total.
United States – In 2014, we ranked fifth place on installed solar capacity globally and second place on wind energy capacity. Renewables accounted for about 13 percent of our electricity generation that year. 2015 totals were not listed.
As I’m reviewing the world’s progress, I’m reminded of the wonders of nature and all it has to offer. Windy countries maximize on wind turbines; sunny ones on solar panels. With the world in agreement we need to phase out fossil fuels, scientists rise to the occasion; clean energy technology improve and products become more affordable!