Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, a polluted nearly 2 mile-long waterway that is an EPA Superfund site. Jonathan Macagba / Moment / Getty Images

Thousands of Superfund sites exist around the U.S., with toxic substances left open, mismanaged and dumped. Despite the high levels of toxicity at these sites, nearly 21 million people live within a mile of one of them, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The National Weather Service station in Chatham, Massachusetts, near the edge of a cliff at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. Bryce Williams / National Weather Service in Boston / Norton

A weather research station on a bluff overlooking the sea is closing down because of the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Amsterdam is one of the Netherlands' cities which already has "milieuzones," where some types of vehicles are banned. Unsplash / jennieramida

By Douglas Broom

  • If online deliveries continue with fossil-fuel trucks, emissions will increase by a third.
  • So cities in the Netherlands will allow only emission-free delivery vehicles after 2025.
  • The government is giving delivery firms cash help to buy or lease electric vehicles.
  • The bans will save 1 megaton of CO2 every year by 2030.

Cities in the Netherlands want to make their air cleaner by banning fossil fuel delivery vehicles from urban areas from 2025.

Read More Show Less
Protestors stage a demonstration against fracking in California on May 30, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A bill that would have banned fracking in California died in committee Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER / E+ / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

As world leaders prepare for this November's United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world's wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.

Read More Show Less