8 Countries Leading in Renewable Energy Production
Combatting the effects of climate change effectively requires a collective effort from all countries across the globe. As investment in renewable energy continues to grow, some countries are taking impressive steps in the right direction and leading the way in renewable energy production.
Renewable energy production leaders
Norway is known as the land of the midnight sun, fjords, and valleys. But what is less known is that Norway uses the highest global share of renewable energy.
Over 45% of Norway’s electricity comes from hydropower, making it the largest hydropower producer in Europe. In fact, the nordic nation has been harnessing power from waterfalls and rivers since the late 1800s.
Norway’s commitment to renewable energy is an inspiration to many countries around the world. As we look to reduce our carbon footprint, we can learn from Norway’s example by investing in renewable energy and exploring new ways to harness it.
Brazil is one of the world’s leading renewable energy countries, with the second highest supply of renewable energy in the world. In fact, Brazil is particularly inventive in the biofuel sector.
The country is the largest producer and exporter of sugarcane ethanol, a biofuel produced by fermenting sugarcane juice. This renewable energy source is considered a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. Brazil’s sugarcane industry is highly efficient, producing a large amount of ethanol with relatively low land and water resources.
In addition to sugarcane ethanol, Brazil invests in other forms of renewable energy such as hydropower and wind power. Due to its lush waterfalls, mighty rivers, and extensive coastline, Brazil has one of the world’s largest installed hydropower capacities.
New Zealand has made considerable strides in developing diverse renewable energy sources thanks to its unique geography, climate, and natural resources.
Hydroelectricity is New Zealand’s largest renewable energy source, providing around 62% of the country’s electricity generation. Its mountainous terrain, numerous rivers, and high rainfall make it well-suited for hydroelectricity production.
New Zealand has also been exploring the potential of wind and solar power, with several large wind farms and solar energy investments. The country’s innovative approach to renewable energy has led to new technologies like the Wave Energy Converter, which generates electricity from ocean waves during rough conditions.
Costa Rica is a world leader in renewable energy, with a combination of hydro, geothermal, wind, biomass, and solar power supplying 99.78% of the nation’s energy output in 2020.
All households in the country have access to electricity generated from renewable sources, benefiting both rural and urban populations. In 2020, Costa Rica lasted for 300 consecutive days on renewable energy alone, breaking its own record set in 2017.
The country produces so much energy that it can sell the surplus, earning over $180 million in sales to Central America’s Regional Electricity Market in 2019. Costa Rica’s success serves as a model for other nations in achieving sustainable energy goals.
In Sweden, the adoption of ultra-innovative building techniques is helping them lead the charge in renewable energy production. In 2001, Sweden built their first ‘passive houses’, which are buildings constructed without conventional heating systems.
Since then, more buildings have followed, with passive high-rises in the southern town of Växjö, and in Stockholm, where the body heat from commuters passing through the central station is used to heat a nearby building.
Energy innovations like these are helping Sweden to consume energy while keeping emissions low. They hit their 2020 target of 50% renewables in 2012 and are well on their way to reaching their goal of 100% by 2040.
Scotland has one of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, with a legally-binding climate change bill requiring net-zero emissions by 2045. And, based on last year’s stats, they’re well on their way.
At the start of 2021, Scotland was producing 97.4% of its energy through renewable sources such as hydro, solar, and especially offshore wind. In fact, in the past year, Scotland has increased its offshore wind capacity by over 50%, making it a significant contributor to Scotland’s renewable energy mix.
With its focus on renewable energy, Scotland is positioning itself as a leader in sustainable energy and a model for other countries to follow in the transition to a low-carbon future.
A tiny island in Denmark has just become the world’s first ‘renewable energy island’, with the 4000 residents reducing their emissions to near zero through collective ownership of wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass heating plants.
Back in 1996, the island of Samsø won a competition to become the community chosen to model a complete shift from fossil fuel dependency to renewable self-sufficiency. Three years later, Samsø’s residents chipped in to purchase a $1-million wind turbine.
Today, Samsø is powered by 21 offshore wind turbines providing 100% of the island’s power, with any excess sold back to the mainland’s grid. Resident’s heating bills have also dropped by 40% thanks to the use of solar, while biomass provides 75% of the island’s heating needs.
While the rest of Europe is concerned with turning heaters down or going back to coal, homes, and businesses in Iceland are enjoying relatively low heating bills and warm buildings, thanks to geothermal heating.
The volcanic landscape of Iceland has created the perfect opportunity for Europe’s youngest country to heat every home with renewable energy. 90% of Iceland’s heating comes from district heating systems that tap hot water directly underground, and 10% is from electricity generated using steam from that water, or hydropower.
This has given Iceland the opportunity to show the rest of the world that investments in renewable energy can have incredible payoffs, both environmentally and economically.
Renewable energy in Western Australia
Back home in Western Australia, the uptake of solar by industry and business has increased significantly however, there’s still a long way to go toward carbon neutrality. With the huge demand for energy in the mining and resources sector, hydrogen projects in WA plan to generate over 100 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
At Amanda Energy, our business electricity experts are here to help your business save money on electricity bills while doing your bit to lower the strain on the grid and help the environment. To speak to an Amanda expert about solar power or the benefits of peak shaving for your business, get in touch with us today.
Original article posted on Amanda Energy Dec 9, 2015: ARTICLE SOURCE: ABC News