Renewable energy capacity significantly increased over the last 10 years with the urgency of fighting the climate change crisis rapidly taking hold of the environment. Some countries, more than others, have taken it upon themselves to do what they can in combating and hopefully, slowing the inevitable.
Here are a few of the countries leading the way:
As you know, the UK can be very windy, and thus perfect for wind power! The country now generates more electricity from wind farms than coal plants. Some days, Scotland can produce enough wind power to power every single home. Ireland is similar, producing enough clean wind energy to power over 1.2 million homes.
Believe it or not, Germany is knocking it out of the park with solar energy. Even though it’s very cloudy there, solar panels work optimally in Germany’s cooler temperatures. They set a record in 2017 for fulfilling about 85% of its electricity needs with solar.
Unfortunately marked as the world’s “largest polluter”, China is also now the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy, and rightly so. The country owns five of the world’s largest solar manufacturing plants and the largest manufacturer of wind turbine.
The United States has one of the top installed solar PV capacities and installed wind energy capacity, coming in second to China. Unfortunately, we’re also one of the world’s energy consumers so the renewable capacity is cancelled out. If we clean up our act, so to speak, we could reduce our emissions by nearly 80% over 15 years.
Within a few years, India installed almost as much solar as the top solar states in the US (California, NJ, & Massachusetts). By the end of 2017, they had 17 gigawatts of solar and almost 33 gigawatts of wind. The country will most likely surpass their 175-gigawatt goal by 2022.
76% of Brazil’s electricity comes from renewable resources. They invested in 93 gigawatts of hydropower, gigawatts of installed wind power, and 27 megawatts of solar.
This South American country, with an agreement between the public and private utility sectors, have heavily invested into wind and solar. The country proudly reports the 95% of their energy supply is strictly renewables.
Another country setting renewable goals, Denmark plans to 100% free of fossil fuels by 2050. They are investing primarily in wind power, with a shorter-term goal set for 2020 by harnessing 50% of their electricity from renewables.
Nearly 100% of Iceland’ energy comes from renewable sources (mostly hydropower and geothermal), and it generates the most clean electricity per person worldwide. That’s a whole lot of clean air, if you ask us…
Back in 2015, Sweden set a goal to complete do away the any use of fossil fuels. In order to reach this goal, they’ve significantly ramped up their investment in solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids, and the use of clean fuel for transport.
Due to its relatively low population count and their geographic landscape, Costa Rica fulfills the majority of its energy usage in the form of hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, and wind power. Running on 100% renewable energy for for over two months TWICE in the last two years, they’re well on their way to their carbon-neutral goal they’ve set for 2021.
Like Costa Rica, Nicaragua is taking advantage of the importance of renewable energy. With a goal of being 90% powered by renewables by 2020, the central American country has invested in wind, solar, and geothermal power.
Receiving up to 350 days of sunshine a year, it only makes sense that Morocco invests in solar. Between solar and wind capacity, it is predicted that the country will produce enough energy to power over one million homes later this year.
This African country has worked hard to eliminate having to import electricity from their neighboring countries. They’ve invested in geothermal energy, which fulfilled more than half of their energy capacity in 2015. They’ve since installed the continent’s largest wind farm, which makes up another 20% of their energy generation.