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3 Islands Lead the Way By Going 100% Renewable Energy
By Jeremy Gottlieb
100% renewable energy to some may sound like nothing more than a pipe dream, but in reality, it already exists. As giant countries like China, North America and India continue to pump out never ending streams of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, small, low-elevation islands are at risk of serious damage from rising sea levels and more intense and frequent storms. But some islands refuse to surrender and are doing everything in their capacity to do their part, even if that means overhauling their electricity grid as a means to achieve 100% clean, renewable energy. Of course this transition does not only contribute towards a healthier planet, but also a lower fuel bill for the islands as it is expensive to purchase and receive diesel and other fuels by sea or air.
You may not have heard of the small island of Tokelau before, but its 1,500 inhabitants live on three atolls in the South Pacific where the maximum height above sea level is less than 17 feet. At the Durban Climate Conference in 2011, the Head of the Government of Tokelau, Foua Toloa, declared that his nation would be powered completely by renewable energy by 2012. By October of that year, Tokelau had fulfilled its goal.
Prior to the 2012 conversion to clean energy, the island was dependent on three diesel-powered generators (one on each atoll) that burned 200 liters of fuel a day and cost the country nearly $800,000 on an annual basis. Furthermore, Tokelauans only had access to electricity between 15-18 hours each day, hardly the recipe for progress and growth. Now, with their solar panels and batteries for storage when the sun isn’t shining, Tokelau can now produce 150% of its electrical need. Not only are carbon emissions and costs reduced, but energy is more accessible than ever before.
El Hierro is an island at the western edge of Spain’s Canary Islands that has forsaken fossil fuels in favor of the plentiful renewable energy sources that bless the island. With a dormant volcano, strong breezes and abundant sunshine to draw from, El Hierro uses water, wind and fire to power itself to self-sufficiency. Much larger than Tokelau, the island has more than 10,000 residents and formerly emitted some 18,200 tons of carbon dioxide each year. That is however, until El Hierro built wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and hydroelectric sources to replace the need of polluting energy generation.
The Danish island of Samsø was actually the first island in the world to become completely powered by renewable energy. In 1997, the island won a government sponsored competition to become a model renewable energy community and since then has added 21 wind turbines to fulfill the electricity needs of the approximately 4,000 residents. Of the 21 turbines that belong to the island twice the size of Manhattan, residents own a share in 20 of them. Soren Hermansen, one of the leading proponents of wind power in the area, addressed the critique that wind turbines are unsightly or noisy with the response, “If you own a share in a wind turbine it looks better, it sounds better. It sounds like money in the bank." It’s difficult to argue with that.
Transitioning to a 100% clean energy world is not only possible, it is inevitable. As Mr. Hermansen said, giving people a stake in creating clean energy will help accelerate its advancement. At Mosaic, we agree—the fastest way to grow the clean energy economy is to enable the most people to benefit from it. And our platform is making that possible. Thousands of people across the country are already earning 4-7% returns from 100% clean energy. We invite you to join us.
Jeremy is a Fellow at Mosaic, a company connecting investors to high quality solar project.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Daisy Brickhill
Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.
By Sam Nickerson
Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.
Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After Customers Find ‘Fragments of Metal’
Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.
The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.
ExxonMobil could be the second company after Monsanto to lose lobbying access to members of European Parliament after it failed to turn up to a hearing Thursday into whether or not the oil giant knowingly spread false information about climate change.
The call to ban the company was submitted by Green Member of European Parliament (MEP) Molly Scott Cato and should be decided in a vote in late April, The Guardian reported.
Bernie Sanders has become the first contender in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential primary field to pledge to offset all of the greenhouse gas emissions released by campaign travel, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.