Renewable energy isn’t just a new fad. It’s the future of power for our planet, and it’s creating a race. We’ve seen arms and space races before, but we haven’t seen an energy race since the Industrial Revolution. Today, countries are battling for a top spot in history. The U.S. won the last energy race, but right now, there’s some stiff competition.
One study from Finland found that India has the potential to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. That’s a massive claim for such a large population, but the country is on the right track. For three quarters of 2017, India added more renewables than any other energy source, including two quarters where its thermal energy use decreased. Solar is the leading source, making up a massive 79 percent of renewables added last year.
It’s hard to remember just how big China is. It has a massive population, but its land is so enormous that it also has vast areas of basically untouched wilderness. The government is tapping into those areas to become power players in green energy. It has built massive solar and wind farms, so even though China still uses a significant amount of fossil fuels, it’s steadily changing the playing field.
Earlier this year, Chile began implementing its plan to phase out fossil fuels. It has already fostered the sale of coal plants, which are expected to be replaced with renewable energy plants. It hopes to meet 70 percent of its energy needs with renewables by 2050, with the focus on solar and wind. Ocean energy may become a more prominent feature as well, if the technology evolves.
Wind power is a big deal in Nicaragua. It also gets a lot of sun and has a plethora of geothermal activity. This combination makes it the perfect place to take advantage of various renewable energy sources. Wind and solar are the biggest there now, but geothermal is quickly catching up. Currently the country gets almost half of its power from renewable sources, and that number is expected to climb.
South America has some fantastic wind potential, and Brazil is happy to take advantage. The majority of the country’s power comes from hydroelectric, but biomass and wind also give a significant amount of power. Solar currently provides pretty little energy, but that sector is also expected to pick up in the near future.
Currently, Guatemala produces almost 60 percent of its energy from renewable sources. The other 40 percent still comes from fossil fuels, but it plans to reduce that by 30 percent by 2032. Similar to Brazil, a significant portion of that comes from hydroelectric. Other areas will have to expand to meet increased demands.
Kenya is investing heavily in geothermal energy. This is a take on renewables that a lot of more developed areas can’t do. Since the country is so close to the western edge of the East African Rift, it has plenty of opportunities to use it. In 2015, they were already generating more than half of its energy from geothermal power.
South Africa has a lot of potential when it comes to solar power. However, the country is also facing a water crisis that has driven down some concern for renewables. Even with its problems, the country is still making strides toward renewables. The country doesn’t need any additional coal or nuclear power, so that it can shift its focus to solar and wind. It recently signed a $4.7 billion deal to increase its renewable energy capacity, a move that will begin the process of building 27 new wind and solar plants.
The renewable energy sector encompassed over half of Sweden’s GDP in 2016. A large portion of that comes from hydroelectric, with nuclear close behind. However, the country is dedicated to reducing its dependence on nuclear power and transitioning entirely over to renewables by 2040.
Denmark isn’t just one of the happiest countries in the world— it’s also one of the greenest.44 percent of its energy came from wind power in 2017, up from 18 percent in 2005. It’s updated its turbines and energy grid so it can use wind energy as efficiently as possible.
These are just some of the countries that are making huge strides toward green technology. These have made some of the biggest, and many of them have only touched on their potential. In another decade, we’re sure to see some amazing changes take place. One winner of the green revolution can help save us all.