Leading in Renewable Energy

By Yesui Nyamchuluun, GCC 3011 student

“The nation that leads in renewable energy will be the nation that leads the world.” – James Cameron

At every international conference people are talking about the importance of the transition to renewable energy, to cleaner sources of energy. Every company in the tech industry is brainstorming to come with the next cutting edge clean energy source. Despite the goals of carbon-neutrality being set for the year of 2030, 2050 or 2070 (vague far away), the priority of the actions that will eventually lead to THE result are very high. The earth contains many differently cultured communities of groups, building a big world of diversity in all of its aspects. Even the aspects of its clean energy sourcing status. With many nations pledging the change to happen decades from now, some nations already made it to the other side, to the brighter side, to the only side in the worst case scenario. Their economies and people are flourishing in a completely different multiverse compared to our traditional, popular fossil fuel world. What were their secrets? Were they lucky? Below is my personal list of the top 5 countries, followed by the analysis of their secret of success and commonalities. 

Renewable energy is no longer a niche fuel

  1. Germany 

In the climate fight game the ones who act are the winners. The ones who actually show the result. In the first half of 2018 it produced enough renewable energy to power every household in the country for a year.   

  1. Uruguay 

The country you won’t be expecting to see in the list. The non-European countries in the list that stood out to me with their actions and plan. They did truly build an ambitious goal to be 100% powered by renewable energy in less than 10 years of STRONG effort. The country located on one of the privileged areas of South America did truly set an ambitious goal that even some developed countries don’t have the courage to aim for, not even mentioning the developing side of the world. I guess it is reasonable for Uruguay to be ranked as the leader of Latin America’s economy. 

  1. Sweden 

The country not only has the goal to fully eliminate fossil fuels from electricity generation by 2040 but also encourages change across the globe. Encouraging and incentivising other countries to join the change with them. International cooperation on its own is an extremely fragile topic therefore besides the technological leaders we need international relations leaders. They have been ramping up investment in solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids, and clean transport.

  1. Denmark

Coming as one of the close finalists, Denmark has its own pride and reasons to be taking the runner up position. They have set the world record for the percentage of wind power of 43%, just two years after the Paris Agreement. 

  1. Norway 

Drum rolls… In my opinion, Norway is the leader in the clean energy transition. Numbers may not actually say that, but the reason for my choice is its mindset and the approaches to the problem. Norway is a nordic nation with freezing and harsh winters. However, some also consider them lucky to have access to hydropower. But the reason why it stood out for me was its ability to manage the system efficiently. The country is rich in natural resources such as oil, however, the government and people made the choice to leave that road and choose the right pathway to renewable energy. The nation still utilizes its fossil fuel supply however they export the majority of it, meeting the demand of other countries. 

Reflection

There is no reason to deny that some of the countries were lucky with their geography and weather, however, Europe can’t be the only continent to have all the luck, as Uruguay shows. You don’t have to have sun all the time, as Germany shows. You don’t have to have the warmth, as Norway shows. The answer lies in their intentions and choices they make. The incentives that stand behind your choice of your economic development path.

Lessons and Future

As shown by the map, the wind doesn’t only blow in certain areas, the potential for wind tube installations are evenly spread out across the continents. It is mighty nature, after all. 

When it comes to solar panels, the focus of its energy is by the territories by the Equator. Not Europe.  

These examples show how much potential do we have when it comes to transitioning into renewable energy source. We are all lucky!

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