Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

5 Countries Leading the Way Toward 100% Renewable Energy

Business
5 Countries Leading the Way Toward 100% Renewable Energy

2014 was an exciting year for renewable energy.

After a three-year slump in renewable energy finance, investment grew last year, with records level seen for the amount spent on wind farms, as well the construction of both new wind and solar capacity.

Last month, wind turbines alone provided around 1,279 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the national gird, enough to supply the electrical needs of 164 percent of Scottish households, or 3.96 million homes. Photo credit: Creative Commons

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s latest energy investment report, China led as the world’s largest investor in renewables, with the U.S. coming in second place.

Worldwide, around 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind power capacity were built in 2014—up from 74 GW in 2013—and nearly during every month the headlines were filled with record generation in cities and countries across the world.

As we kick off 2015—with hopes for an even bigger year for renewable energy—here’s five records that were broken in 2014.

1. Denmark sets world record for wind

Denmark set a new world record for wind production in 2014, getting 39.1 percent of its overall electricity from the clean energy source.

The latest figures put the country well on track to meet its 2020 goal of getting 50 percent of its power from renewables.

Denmark has long been a pioneer in wind power, having installed its first turbines in the mid-1970s, and has even more ambitious aims in sight, including a 100 percent renewable country by 2050.

Last year, onshore wind was also declared the cheapest form of energy in the country.

2. UK wind power smashes annual records

In the UK, wind power also smashed records in 2014, as generation rose 15 percent from 24.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) hours to 28.1 TWh.

That’s more than any other year, and the country now generates enough wind energy to supply the needs of more than 6.7 million UK households.

A combination of grid-connected wind farms and standalone turbines produced 9.3 percent of the UK’s electricity demand in 2014, up from 7.8 percent in 2013 and the latest data follows a string of wind power records announced in the second half of last year.

3. Renewables provide biggest contribution to Germany’s electricity

Renewable energy was the biggest contributor to Germany’s electricity supply in 2014, with nearly 26 percent of the country’s power generation coming from clean sources.

That’s according to Berlin-based think-tank Agora Energiewende.

Electricity output from renewables has grown eightfold in Germany since 1990, and the latest data further highlights the dramatic shift towards clean energy taking place in Europe’s largest economy.

4. Scotland sees “massive year” for renewables

With another record month experienced in December, 2014 was a “massive year” for renewables in Scotland.

Last month, wind turbines alone provided around 1,279 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the national gird, enough to supply the electrical needs of 164 percent of Scottish households, or 3.96 million homes.

The latest figures further highlight the record year seen for renewables in Scotland, with wind turbines providing an average 746, 510 MWh each month—enough to supply 98 percent of Scottish households electricity needs.

Over six months of the year, wind generated enough power to supply more than 100 percent of Scottish households, while in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness there was enough sunshine to provide 100 percent or more of the electricity needs for an average home in June and July.

With figures like these it is no wonder new research out this week said the country’s power grid could be 100 percent renewable by 2030.

5. Ireland hits new record for wind energy

Windy conditions in Ireland meant the country saw not one but two wind energy records set already this year.

According to figures record by EirGrid on Wednesday (Jan. 7), wind energy had created 1,942 MW of energy, enough to power more than 1.26 million homes.

And while we are still only a week into 2015, this announcement marked the second time this year the country has seen this record broken. On the Jan. 1, wind energy output was at a previous high of 1,872 MW.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Caribbean Island Says Goodbye Fossil Fuels, Hello 100% Renewable Electricity

3 Charts Prove the Solar Revolution Is Here to Stay

Nukes Fade As Wind and Solar Soar

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A resident works in the vegetable garden of the Favela Nova Esperanca – a "green favela" which reuses everything and is subject to the ethics of permaculture – in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 14, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP via Getty Images

Farmers are the stewards of our planet's precious soil, one of the least understood and untapped defenses against climate change. Because of its massive potential to store carbon and foundational role in growing our food supply, soil makes farming a solution for both climate change and food security.

Read More Show Less
Once the virus escapes into the air inside a building, you have two options: bring in fresh air from outside or remove the virus from the air inside the building. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

By Shelly Miller

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Read More Show Less
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less