10 countries have already switched to green energy

A recent study by scientists at Stanford University showed that in 20-40 years the whole world will be able to obtain energy from renewable sources. Given that the technology already exists, it’s not hard to imagine. In fact, the transition to green energy is not proceeding as quickly as experts expect, and the leaders of this global change face many problems, including those related to the lobbying of resource companies and countries.

Iceland

Iceland produces more green energy per capita than any other country – 80%. To do this, they use their unique landscape. To some extent, this happened involuntarily: there are no significant carbon deposits in the country – they bought coal, oil and other fuels from abroad. Therefore, since the 1930s, hydrothermal energy (prepared hot water) and hydrothermal energy (heat carrier heating) have been actively developed here. This infrastructure, such as the geothermal power plant at the Blue Lagoon, has also become a tourist attraction.

However, scientists also warn of the downside of green energy, which remains in the shadow of many positives and advertising headlines. According to the results of scientists, some renewable energy sources are used in Iceland for purposes other than to generate income for companies outside the country. While the benefits to the local population are, at best, questionable.

At the same time, at least two projects – the Kaurakhnyukar hydroelectric plant and the Hedlisheidi geothermal plant, according to their conclusions, were the result of an aggressive industrialization strategy pursued by various governments over several decades.

The strategy includes minimal environmental regulation, guaranteed low energy prices and an industry-friendly tax system designed to attract heavy industry to Iceland, particularly aluminum smelters, which are hardly environmentally friendly.

Sweden

Sweden has always been an ambitious country in terms of respect for the environment. Already in the seventies and eighties, due to the oil crisis, the state began to build hydro and nuclear power plants. Later, in 2015, Sweden decided to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Investments in solar and wind energy, energy storage, smart grids, and green transportation have increased.

In order for businessmen and ordinary residents to participate in the development of the project, the state introduced a carbon tax, exempted renewable energy producers from almost all fees and introduced “green certificates”. Sometimes, in order to use all the energy without wasting the excess, brilliant ideas are used, for example, connecting the chimney of the crematorium to the city central heating system.

However, the country is already facing electricity shortages. As reported by Bloomberg, the crisis arose due to the shutdown of the country’s oldest reactors and the switch to wind power at a time when the current (still transitional) power system is trying to cope with demand in large cities. The shortage, affecting the country’s major urban areas, threatens everything from 5G rollouts in the capital to investments in data centers and new metro lines. That could derail Stockholm’s bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics.

Costa Rica

With its small population (only 4.9 million people) and unique geography (67 volcanoes), Costa Rica is able to meet a significant portion of its energy needs from hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources. The country aims to achieve complete carbon neutrality by 2021 and has already achieved impressive results by operating 100% renewable energy for more than two months twice in the past two years.

However, even in this case, the researchers found that although Costa Rica was able to generate 98% of its electricity without fossil fuels in 2017, the demand for traditional energy sources in the country is already increasing. Costa Rica uses a combination of hydro, wind, and geothermal energy to provide electricity to the population, but due to its gasoline transportation system, renewable energy accounts for less than a quarter of the country’s total energy consumption. There are a lot of cars in Costa Rica – about 287 cars per 1,000 people.

Due to the sheer number of cars compared to the population of Costa Rica, the country is still dependent on oil

Hybrid cars and electric vehicles that can run on renewable energy make up less than 2% of these vehicles, and gas purchases in 2016 rose 11% in 2016, according to the country’s authorities.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is another Central American country where renewable energy is gaining importance. Like Costa Rica, the country is home to several volcanoes, making geothermal energy production a viable option, and thanks to public investment in wind, solar and geothermal energy, its goal of being 90% renewable by 2020 appears to be achievable.

Great Britain

The UK is a windy country that uses its privacy to generate energy. Through a combination of grid-connected wind farms and off-grid turbines, the country generates more electricity from wind farms than from coal-fired ones.

The UK recently went a week without burning coal at all, the first time this has happened since the Industrial Revolution. However, environmental activists are concerned that state investment has decreased by 56% over the past two years to $10.3 billion, due to the activities of the conservative party in the country.

The UK managed to go a week without burning coal, the most since the Industrial Revolution.

Germany

Since 1990, production of renewable energy, including solar energy, has more than eightfolded in Germany. In 2015, they set a record for meeting up to 78% of electricity demand in a single (albeit high-performing) day from renewable energy in the country.

The impetus for this was the accident in Fukushima in 2011 – at which time German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the closure of her country’s nuclear plants. However, according to Der Spiegel, since then the government has spent a lot of time and money only on the introduction of green energy, and progress has been “limited” – the state generates and sells a lot of energy, but does not reduce the amount of energy traditionally generated.

Germany’s nuclear power plants remain open, even though it’s been eight years since Angela Merkel promised to shut down the nuclear power plant

In the past five years alone, Energiewende – the transition to renewable energy – has cost Germany 32 billion euros annually. Opposition to renewable energy is growing in rural Germany. As a result, the implementation of the renewable energy project and the construction of associated transmission lines are slowing down rapidly. Fewer than half of the wind turbines, 743, were installed in 2018 compared to 2017.

Uruguay

With a favorable regulatory environment and strong public-private partnerships, the country is making significant investments in wind and solar energy without resorting to subsidies or increasing consumer spending. Now it boasts of the national energy supply which is 95% renewable energy. This was accomplished in less than ten years. The Guardian reports that Uruguay could become a model for the countries of the Paris Agreement.

But 15 years ago, things were completely different. Early in the century, oil accounted for 27% of Uruguay’s imports, and a new pipeline was about to begin bringing gas from Argentina. The use of biomass and solar energy has also expanded. In addition to existing hydropower, this means that renewables now account for 55% of the country’s total energy mix (including transportation fuels), compared to an average of 12% globally.

The World Wide Fund for Nature has named Uruguay as one of its “Green Energy Leaders”

Progress towards decarbonizing the country’s economy is now being recognized. The World Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean have praised her, and last year the WWF named Uruguay one of its “green energy leaders.”

Denmark

Denmark aims to be 100% fossil fuel-free by 2050 and plans to use wind energy to achieve this goal. They already set a world record in 2014, generating nearly 40% of total electricity demand from wind power, and the latest figures are well positioned to reach their first goal of 50% electricity by 2020.

Even companies planning on state land invest in a green strategy. For example, Google has committed to zero emissions for its servers and invested $700 million in technology to make it happen.

China

It may be the world’s biggest polluter, but China is also the world’s largest investor in renewable energy, with huge levels of investment both domestically and internationally. At present, China owns five of the world’s six largest solar module companies, and is the largest wind turbine manufacturer; The world’s largest producer of lithium ions. And the world’s largest power generation company. China is fully committed to reducing fossil fuel consumption and has all the incentives to do so, especially in highly polluted cities.

Air pollution in Chinese cities is one of the main drivers of the Chinese government in switching to renewable energy sources

With a leadership position in the production of renewable energy, as well as related technologies such as electric cars, Forbes already wants to become a “renewable energy powerhouse”. “No country has done more or worked to become the global superpower in the field of renewable energy,” the text reads.

Morocco, West, sunset

Morocco is a country that gets plenty of sunshine all year round (up to 350 days), so decide wisely to invest heavily in solar energy production. The first phase of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, which recently opened in Morocco, along with wind and hydroelectric power plants, has produced enough power for more than one million Moroccan homes by 2018. However, the country plans not only to generate Energy for itself, but also to supply it outside.

By 2020, Morocco expects to get 14% of all electricity from solar energy, and by 2030 it will increase the share of electricity obtained from renewable sources (including hydro and wind energy) to 52%.

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