Posts

DSC01422

The True Heroes of Renewable Energy

While Europe is still discussing, other countries in less developed parts of the world have already become serious

Germany’s Federal Government is mighty proud about its energy transition program, because of which about a quarter of the energy consumed in Germany stems from renewable energy sources1. It is the declared goal to cover Germany’s energy demand completely with renewable energies by 2050. Other countries in Europe have similarly ambitious goals; Scotland, for example, aims to reach the 100% mark already by 20202.

At the moment, Germany lies with its 25% of renewable energy only slightly above the global average. About 20% of the worldwide energy demand is currently covered by green energy, with hydro-power making up 15,7%3 and other green energy source like solar or wind only 4,2%4.

While Europe is still discussing and fighting about which way to go, and while many people still bring forwards arguments like “green energy is uneconomic” or even impossible, other rather unnoticed countries have made much larger steps towards environmentally friendly energy supply.

Incidentally, Portugal is right now one of the European leaders when it comes to renewable energies, with above 50% of its energy demand being covered by them. This country, which is often referred to as the poorest of Europe, is seemingly not convinced of the argument that green energy is not paying out.

Who’s the greenest?

When considering the total amount of kilowatt-hours produced, countries like the USA, China or Canada are the leading producers of renewable energy. To get a representative picture, however, one has to look at the ratio of production and consumption. These countries are at the same time also those with the highest energy demand. Renewable energies thus only make up a small part of the overall energy consumption.

toptenrenewablesvtotalelectricityconsumption The True Heroes of Renewable Energy News

Looking at the graphic above, Norway seems to be the leading country, as it produces more renewable energy than it can actually consume. But there is another story behind it: Norway sells most of its green energy to foreign countries and consumes itself rather unecological energy from its huge oil reserves5.

But there are indeed some countries which cover their complete energy demand from renewable sources. And those countries are interestingly not those which come up in one’s mind when thinking about this topic. The four countries which are completely independent from fossil fuels are Albania, Nepal, Mozambique and Paraguay.

It is rather surprising, if not even discouraging, that, besides Norway, there is no European country among the top ten countries with the highest percentage of renewable energy. There are, however, four Subsahara African countries on this list, namely Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Namibia6.

Naturally, it is rather difficult to compare these numbers, as a lot of factors play a role in this context. In many African countries for example, only a small share of the population has access to electricity in the first place. In Mozambique there is a single dam producing hydro-power for the entire country and 95% of its population does not have any access to electricity, as most of the produced energy is being sold to the neighboring countries, such as Zimbabwe or South Africa7.

And still, when it is possible for these countries, which are not really blessed with a flourishing economy as most of Europe, to be completely independent from fossil fuels, then the argument, that green energy is unaffordable, loses validity. And the argument that the project of energy transition is impossible, is proven to be complete nonsense.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

1http://www.bmwi.de/DE/Themen/Energie/Erneuerbare-Energien/erneuerbare-energien-auf-einen-blick.html

2http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/07/06095830/0

3http://mecometer.com/topic/electricity-production-from-hydroelectric-sources/

4http://mecometer.com/topic/electricity-production-from-renewable-sources-excluding-hydroele/

5http://yearbook.enerdata.net/world-electricity-production-map-graph-and-data.html#renewable-data-in-world-primary-consumption-shares-by-region.html

6http://mecometer.com/topic/electricity-production-from-hydroelectric-sources/

7https://energypedia.info/wiki/Mozambique_Energy_Situation

Photo copyright Malte Plewa

Renewable energy on the Canary Islands | Global Ideas

Within Europe, Spain is one of the leading nations when it comes to the use of renewable energy. One of the government’s goals is for the El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, to soon become 100 percent reliant on clean energy from wind and hydro power. If it were to reach that goal, El Hierro would be the first island in the world to meet its energy needs without burning any fossil fuels. Find out more next week.