It is no surprise that energy crisis is on the rise globally. More importantly, environmental degradation and global warming are changing our planet rapidly. These changes were hardly controllable in the past and with the constant rise in concerns, the impact could be catastrophic. However, there is still hope for the planet yet. Many countries around the world are slowly moving to renewable energy despite the lack of political will and Oil & gas tyrants owning the consumer market.
According to research, we are only 20 to 40 years away from a world completely powered by renewable energy including solar, wind, hydro, geo-thermal, nuclear and bio-energy. We can see the impact already in the transportation industry with millions of electric vehicles on our roads, green businesses and changes in policies around the world. There are at least 50 countries around the world that could be affected or have been affected by climate change. These countries have agreed to produce energy from renewable resources 100 percent by the year 2050.
Let’s take a look at 8 countries in particular who are leading the way in the switch to renewable energy;
Iceland generates the clean electricity per person on the planet, 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.
3. Costa Rica
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.
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.
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.
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 neighboring 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.