Europe’s energy utilities have rung a death knell for coal, with a historic pledge that no new coal-fired plants will be built in the EU after 2020. The surprise announcement was made at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, 442 years after the continent’s first pit was sunk by Sir George Bruce of Carnock, in Scotland. National energy companies from every EU nation—except Poland and Greece—have signed up to the initiative, which will overhaul the bloc’s energy-generating future. Wendel Trio, the director of Climate Action Network Europe, hailed the new move as “the beginning of the end for coal”. “It is now clear that there is no future for coal in the EU,” he said. “The question is: what is the date for its phase out in the EU, and how hard will the coal industry fight to keep plants open, even if they are no longer economically viable?”
Not so many years ago, in a land far, far away, there was an almost ideal island paradise. But the island had an energy policy built upon sand and oil, its power coming from a diesel-powered power station. Every so often, a big tanker would swing by to deliver oil from other far away places that might use the newly acquired money to fund armies or build Madrassahs, for uneducated swathes of poor people with no “freedoms” to learn critical-thinking skills. Almost as bad they might fund places like Liberty University to encourage anti-science nonsense. Then one day a mighty wind swept this island and blew that power station down. The Sun came out, and the people of that island had a vision, and they asked unto themselves: why allow the wind to put us in darkness, when wind can be harnessed to create light? So when that foul tanker came to visit, the people of that island said: away you dark beast, we do not need your oil blood money anymore. So off that tanker did go seeking other fools for its sick cargo.
The moral of that tale?
1) Bonaire, 100% Renewable Energy:
Caribbean Island Says Goodbye Fossil Fuels, Hello 100% Renewable Electricity
2) Iceland, 100% Renewable.
3) Norway, 100% Renewable.
Leading the world’s green electricity race are Iceland and Norway, both generating a full 100% of their electricity from green sources. Norway gets 99% from hydro and 1% from other renewable sources of energy. Iceland has, as many people know, a good deal of geothermal power (27%), with hydro making up the remaining 73%.
4) Switzerland plans to have in excess of 100% renewable energy. This is how they plan to get there:
6) Brazil, with 87% hydropower and other renewable sources of electricity.
7) Colombia, 80% renewable electricity (all but 1%, again, hydropower).
8) Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nepal: smaller nations which get all or nearly all of their electricity from hydropower.
Other countries are making progress
9) A Moroccan solar plant will bring energy to a million people.
It is part of Morocco’s pledge to get 42% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
Last month, wind turbines alone provided approximately 1,279 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity to the national gird, enough to supply the electrical needs of 164% 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% of Scottish households electricity needs.
According to figures record by EirGrid on Wednesday (Jan. 7, 2015), wind energy had created 1,942 MWh of energy, enough to power more than 1.26 million homes.
Renewable energy was the biggest contributor to Germany’s electricity supply in 2014, with nearly 26% of the country’s power generation coming from clean sources.
Denmark set a new world record for wind production in 2014, getting 39.1% 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% of its power from renewables.
Concerned about nuclear plants the country plans to go from zero (non-Hydro ) renewables to 15% by 2030.
A $20 billion joint venture aimed at Indian renewable energy is the latest sign of fresh investment in the sector as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to aggressively boost output.
The move comes after India’s cabinet approved a drastic increase in capacity targets. By 2022, Modi wants solar capacity at 100 gigawatts (GW), a five-fold increase from the previous target of 20GW. That averages to around 14GW a year, more than the amount of solar power added in the U.S. and China last year.
All of the above numbers would look a great deal better if projected out to 2050. EU countries are well on the way to meeting the EU’s target for 20% renewable energy in the overall energy supply by 2020, a new report shows.
Companies are reacting to their critical thinking customers:
Amazon Web Services has announced its largest renewable energy project to date, a 208 MW wind farm that will supply current and future Amazon cloud data centers. But Amazon is just scratching the surface. These are the largest companies that function using 100% renewables. Naturally, blue states lead the charge in critical thinking: 90% of the renewable savings of the top 40 companies come from blue states.
My sincere apologies in breaking a cardinal mathematical rule of objectivity, but I just could not bring myself to label Austin, Texas as red. Austin is such an intellectual oasis in a desert of Stupidparty that I had to salvage its honor by giving it a special Green label.
It is not just countries, but companies, that are getting marked for their green credentials. Soon there will be labeling (I hope) and apps that will let critical thinkers drive the bad guys out of our living rooms.
Some people say that the USA cannot go 100% renewable, it takes up too much space, etc. What utter nonsense. The USA has oceans of everything, such as oceans, rooftops, utility poles (acting as wind turbines), deserts—and if push comes to shove—you have the Dakotas. Much of which (at least from an airplane seat) being barely able to support a scorpion, let alone mankind. I just do not see how much damage can be done in utilizing a landscape resembling Mars, which global warming will only make worse. (OK, I have not been there so I am being somewhat tongue in cheek).
But in all seriousness, where there is a will, there is a way and of course the USA does not need to keep using fossil fuels. Here would be one plan:
Clean technology is on the move. Lust look at this graph that examines the cost of Solar panels and the rate of new installation.
There are plenty of other green energy technologies in the pipeline.
So the question is, does America want to be a force for good or for bad? Do they want to lead the world like they have just shown that they can?
Or do they want to keep on being an anchor on humanity? Do they want to have a future built upon the Bush family and Dick Cheney’s legacy? Remember for twenty of the last thirty-five years there has been a Bush as President or Vice President, always controlling the energy agenda. Before that, they were (one of them at least) orchestrating the demises of Kennedy, Nixon, and Carter.
What do you want to be? What side of history will you be on? And what are you going to do about it?
Because now is the time to say goodbye to all those bad habits.