Quantcast
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

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Pexels

Cosmos Offers Clues to the Fate of Humans on Earth

By Marlene Cimons

Astrophysicist Adam Frank sees climate change through a cosmic lens. He believes our present civilization isn't the first to burn up its resources—and won't be the last. Moreover, he thinks it's possible the same burnout fate already might have befallen alien worlds. That's why he says the current conversation about climate change is all wrong. "We shouldn't be talking about saving the planet, because the Earth will go on without us," he said. "We should be talking about saving ourselves."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Chicago skyline on April 20, 2017. Chris Favero / CC BY-SA 2.0

Big Cities, Bright Lights: Ranking the Worst Light Pollution on Earth

By Dipika Kadaba

The amount of artificial lighting is steadily increasing every year around the planet. It's a cause for celebration in remote villages in Africa and the Indian sub-continent that recently gained access to electricity for the first time, but it is also harming the health and well-being of residents of megacities elsewhere that continue to get bigger and brighter every year.

Health impacts of this artificial illumination after daylight hours range from depression to cancer, including a range of sleep disorders.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
velkr0 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Texas Supreme Court Rules Cities Cannot Ban Plastic Bags

The Texas Supreme Court struck down the city of Laredo's plastic bag ban—a decision that will likely overturn similar bans in about a dozen other cities, including Austin, Fort Stockton and Port Aransas.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Ryan Zinke visits Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota on May 25. Sherman Hogue / U.S. Dept. of the Interior

Report: Trump Admin. Suppressing Media Access of Government Scientists

A new Trump administration protocol requires U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists to run interview requests with the Department of the Interior, its parent agency, before speaking to journalists, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The move is a departure from past media practices that allowed government scientists to quickly respond to journalists' inquiries, according to unnamed USGS employees interviewed by the Times.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Icebergs calving from an ice shelf in West Antarctica. NASA / GSFC / Jefferson Beck / CC BY-SA 2.0

Good News From Antarctica: Rising Bedrock Could Save Vulnerable Ice Sheet

After last week's disturbing news that ice melt in Antarctica has tripled in the last five years, another study published Thursday offers some surprising good news for the South Pole and its vulnerable West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

The study, published in Science by an international research team, found that the bedrock below the WAIS is rising, a process known as "uplift," at record rates as melting ice removes weight, potentially stabilizing the ice sheet that scientists feared would be lost to climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
Soybeans with cupped leaves, a symptom of dicamba injury. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Dicamba Damage Roars Back for Third Season in a Row

University weed scientists have reported roughly 383,000 acres of soybean injured by a weedkiller called dicamba so far in 2018, according to University of Missouri plant sciences professor, Kevin Bradley.

Dicamba destroys mostly everything in its path except the crops that are genetically engineered (GE) to resist it. The drift-prone chemical can be picked up by the wind and land on neighboring non-target fields. Plants exposed to the chemical are left wrinkled, cupped or stunted in growth.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Memphis Meats

FDA Takes First Steps to Regulating Lab-Grown Meat

By Dan Nosowitz

Lab-grown meat—also known as cultured meat or in vitro meat—has long been enticing for its potential environmental, social and economic benefits.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Scott Pruitt speaking at meeting at the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC, on Jan. 17. Lance Cheung / USDA

Breaking: Sierra Club Demands Pruitt’s Emails After Only 1 Disclosed by EPA

As part of ongoing litigation, the Sierra Club has demanded that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) search Scott Pruitt's personal email accounts for work-related emails, or certify clearly and definitively that the administrator has never used personal email for work purposes. The demand comes on the heels of a successfully litigated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's email and other communications with all persons and parties outside the executive branch. These facts were first reported in Politico early this morning.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!