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The great conquest of clean energy

The great conquest of clean energy

The great conquest of clean energy

Renewable energy is the solution to the dreaded future, and these countries are the ones that lead the investment in renewable energy.

With 2016 as the hottest year in history, an expected exodus for 2050, and the clock of the Apocalypse at two and a half minutes past midnight, we have to change as soon as possible to clean and renewable energy. Relying entirely on fossil fuels is no longer an option. And the sooner we stop using them, the better we go in the future.

But this fight means nothing if the countries of the world do not participate in it. As individuals we can take certain steps, but it is the pass investments that can make the difference. It is up to our governments to make the switch to renewable energy, and there arecountries that do more than others.

What are renewable energies?

Before we start, it’s time to get rid of our heads that renewable energy is only the wind or the sun. By definition, renewable energy iswhich comes from natural and inexhaustible sources. It is because nature regenerates that source faster than we consume it, it is because the deposit of that energy is immense.

And there are different energies that are included within the group of renewables:

hydroelectric-power-hydroelectric-reservoir

  • Hydraulic | The waterfalls can be used with turbines to generate electrical energy. All we have to do is build the infrastructure. The downside is that it depends on weather conditions, and can have a lot of impact on the noise ecosystem.

solar-energy-park-solar-panels

  • Solar | Perhaps one of the standards of renewable energy: photovoltaic panels are capable of converting sunlight into electrical light, although we can also use solar collectors to convert light energy into heat, all in a different process.

solar-panels-roof-home

  • Solar thermal | It is an alternative to conventional solar energy. In this case, the energy collected by the plates is immediately used to generate heat. It is usually common to see them in homes to heat the tank water or cook, for example.

wind-energy-park-windmills

  • Elica | The one we obtain from the force of the wind, with the famous wind turbines or windmills. It is the least expensive energy to produce, but it has intermittencies depending on the air, and it also affects the landscape and the ecosystem.
  • Geothermal | It is what we get when we take advantage of the heat inside the earth. Earth’s internal heat generates up to 5,000 centigrade, which heats groundwater. And we can take advantage of that heat to drive electric turbines, or to heat.
  • Marine | It is the one generated from the movement of the oceans. It can be exploited by the energy of the waves, the energy of the tides, the energy of the marine currents, and the difference in temperatures between the surface of the water and the deep waters.

biomass-forest-combustion

  • Biomass | It consists of storing solar energy in the form of carbon, thanks to the photosynthesis of plants. This energy is then transformed into thermal energy, electrical energy or fuels of vegetable origin.
    • There is controversy that biomass is included among renewable energies, because its use as fuel, bioethanol or biodiesel continues to generate pollution. This occurs in combustion, when they emit carbon dioxide that contributes to the greenhouse effect. Therefore, we can consider that it is a renewable energy (because biomass will not be depleted while agriculture exists), but it is NOT a green energy.

Outside this select group we find fossil energy (coal, oil, natural gas) and nuclear energy. Fossil energy is not renewable because its reserves take millions of years to generate. And nuclear energy is the one that emits the fewest greenhouse gases, but generates nuclear waste that we do not know how to deal with.

The countries that produce the most renewable energy

China

Liuchan-Wangying-wind farm-china

China is in the news because it has taken the lead in this particular fight. At the end of 2016, and according to the National Energy Administration, the photovoltaic installations have been doubled. That means China’s capacity is 77.42 gigawatt hours(GW / h), to be exact. And it is the world’s largest producer of solar energy. Although they also give hydroelectric, elica, biomass, solar and geothermal.

China is doing a big effort to make the leap to renewable energyThis type of energy has started to grow even faster than fossil and nuclear energy. And they want to invest $ 364 billion in renewable energy by the end of the decade.

China’s problem is within it. We are talking about the world’s most populous country and the world’s leading economic power. AND all of that consumes brutal energy. So the numbers on paper are impressive, but renewable energies only mean a quarter of the Chinese energy mix.

United States

united-states-solar-one-solar-panels-nevada

The United States lags behind in the competition, though it’s not that far, either. They have huge photovoltaic installations,They are at the forefront of energy production. and they also use hydroelectric, biomass, solar and geothermal. The combination of everything generates 549.5 GW / h

What is far is in being close to the goal. In 2015 renewable energies represent only 10% of the energy consumed by the USA, according to the US Department of Energy. So Americans have a lot of work to do. And now they have a climate change denialist in front of them. Live.

Brazil

Itaipu-Dam-central-hidroelectrica-brasil

Brazil does not seem like a place to think about when we talk about renewable energy, but it is. According to data from the EPE in Brazil, 85.4% of the energy consumed in Brazil comes from renewable sources. Renewable energy in Brazil has grown 27% each year since 1990.

In 2012, Brazil has been the third country in creating gigawatt hours(451.1 GW / h), although the vast majority of that energy is hydroelectric. What little is left comes from wind energy and biomass burning.

And the absence of solar energy is somewhat ironic. It is only capable of generating, between telecommunication systems and rural energy systems, less than 0.01% of all the country’s energy. And Brazil is one of the countries with the highest solar incidence in the world, although the available surface and the climate are against it.

Canada

mactaquac-central-hidroelectrica-canada

Oh Canada. The friendly country does a better job in this regard than its American neighbors, making it Hydropower alone accounted for 59% of all the energy consumed during 2006. Slightly less than Brazil, but it stays close: almost 400,000 GW / h.

In 2012 achieved that 65% of energy consumed was from renewed energy, maintaining that enormous impact that hydroelectric energy has. The little that the hydroelectric does not generate comes from the wind, biomass and solar. But be careful, because the wind is growing strongly and they have become the sixth largest producer in the world.

India

India suffers a case quite similar to China, according to the huge population and industry they have. They generate a whopping 200,000 GW / h, being the fifth country producer of renewable energy, but they are far from covering the entire country, reaching a shy 20% in the energy mix.

Luckily, India has ambitious plans: anticipate Its 60% of electricity consumed will come from renewable energy in 2027. Exceeding by far the 40% in 2030 to which they committed in Paris. Now all that remains is for the country to meet its expectations.

Germany

We have to go down to the sixth I can (and last of our selection) to find a European country. It is Germany that dominates renewable energy in the old continent. In May 2016 they achieved a historic milestone: that almost all of the country’s demand was sustained by renewables.

On a normal day, however, things change a little. Only 32.6% is consumed in the energy mix, in heating, falls to 13.2%, and the transport sector falls to 5.3%, making a total of almost 200,000 GW / h. All this, remember, in a country that consumes a lot of energy.

What is Spain with renewables?

wind-park-escambrons_-lerida_2013

Although it is not among the countries that invests or produces the most, Spain has done its homework. We hold the record at 70% in November 2015, thanks in large part to elic energy. And we have attempts at 100% green cities, like El Hierro in the Canary Islands (when they have a good day). We are the third world power in energy elica, and the twelfth in solar energy, in 2014.

Contrary to the beliefs of many, the elica energy has the singing voice in Spain, with 19.1% of the energy consumed. Hydroelectric follows with 10%, solar reaches 5.2%, and a shy 2% is thermal. And you can even see the mix live on the Red Elctrica de España page (requires Flash Player).

The electricity we consume is renewable by 40%Which is good news. But they could be much better. As many of you will remember, the financial crisis caused investments in renewable energies to drop outrageously between 2012 and 2015. And infamous laws, such as the law of electric self-consumption, have been criticized even abroad.

What are the cleanest countries?

But beware: investing more does not mean being the cleanest. There are countries that are able to be cleaner by investing less in comparison. This is due to the energy needs of each country: a country like the US or China needs much more energy than any other smaller in comparison.

With that in mind, the following countries are the ones that are most supported by renewable energy:

Costa Rica

matrix-electrica-costa-rica-2016

Costa Rica is the perfect example of the country we want in the future. I say this because, throughout 2016, only 1.9% fossil fuel has been used. Yes, you read it correctly: the Central American country has been almost entirely sustained in renewable energy for a year.

It is true that we are talking about a small country. In comparison, the United States needs 373 times the energy that Costa Rica uses. But this is the future that we have to pursue.

Butn

Turbinas-electricas-butan

Butn is a small country located in Asia, between China and India, and has always depended on hydroelectric energy. They started using alternative energies at the turn of the 21st century, but always renewable. So Butn is a country that does not use fossil fuels to generate the electricity it consumes.

The only thing that gets to pollute in Butn is to heat certain houses, since some use wood, kerosene and gasoline. In addition to cars, they need gasoline. But beware this could change: Butn is starting to evolve just now, and his energy need increases.

Iceland

Nesjavellir-geothermal-plant-iceland

Iceland has the honor of being the largest producer of green energy per citizen, and the largest producer of electricity for every citizen. 85% of all energy consumed is green, with 65% of geothermal energy heating citizens’ homes. Regarding electricity, almost 100% is green, with a mixture of 75% hydroelectric and 25% geothermal.

Ireland

Another European country, Ireland, has made a very important decision: it is the First country to ban investment of fossil fuels. This means that with 2023 as the limit, Irish public funds cannot be used for natural gas, coal or oil.

However, Ireland still has a lot to do. In 2012 only 20% of the energy consumed comes from renewable energy, and that 20% depends entirely on the wind. Hopefully they won’t be two candles away.

Sweden

But Ireland is not the only one, because Sweden has been a motive for similar reasons. In February of this year, a law has been ratified that obliges future governments to reach a percentage of 0 emissions in 2045. There is a lot left by then, but it is an important step.

Half of the energy consumed by Swedes comes from renewable energy. Its greatest strength is hydroelectric energy, followed by wind and with a minor use of solar energy.