It is amazing how the world is changing from fossil fuel dependency to more sustainable sources of energy. Around the world, companies, individuals, and nations are finding creative ways to make sustainable energy affordable through creating incentives, noticing the natural assets of their landscapes, and investing in the infrastructure that can create profitable sustainable energy for years to come.
300 days of green energy in Costa Rica
The Costa Rican precedent for renewable energy use has been strong: they set a record for percentage of green energy in 2015. However, according to the Guardian, they broke this record in 2017 using their combination of hydroelectric (78%), wind energy (10%), geothermal (10%), and other options in smaller quantities, like biomass and solar.
To get to this point, Costa Rica had to realise that their natural resources included things like running water and windy areas that could get the best out of renewable energy equipment. However, they still see room for improvement, since heating is still an industry dominated by oil and oil products in Costa Rica.
Free energy weekend because of wind surges in Germany
This past year, a good boisterous energy production time in Wind Europe’s wind farms actually created a free energy weekend, according to The Independent. One of the amazing side effects of large-scale nature-dependent energy generation is that it sometimes fluctuates so far upward that fossil fuel related plants can shut down and the price of energy goes to zero or to paying customers for using the power.
In this case, big storms generated a surplus of energy, which was a nice plus to customers, who are more than happy to see a benefit in their electric costs from a weekend of storms.
UK wind and solar production is now higher than nuclear
While often not thought of as a “traditional” fossil fuel, nuclear energy doesn’t generate as strong reviews as other renewable energy because of its radioactive by-products and its dependence on particular elements that are mined. For the first time, the Guardian reports, wind and solar are exceeding nuclear production in the United Kingdom. These improvements are reducing overall dependence on coal, which is also reducing emissions, making the air cleaner.
Another exciting fact is that these increases put low-carbon energy over the top: 50.4% of energy in the UK now comes from these more renewable sources, including nuclear, solar, wind, and biomass. While there is room to continue progressing, this is excellent progress.
Portugal celebrates exceeding demand with renewable sources
Portugal has a reason to celebrate: at peak performance, their renewable energy infrastructure can now support 143% of demand in their country. While this still means that low-wind days can create a drop that must be supplemented with fossil fuels, the country has experienced multi-day stretches where they run on renewable energy alone, according to Clean Technica.
One exciting element of this progress is that millions of euros go toward purchasing emissions credits when not using renewable energy. Instead of spending money to continue producing energy from fossil fuels, Portugal gets cleaner air, greater energy independence, and a lower bill for emissions allowances.
An exciting element of hydroelectric power that benefits from these excesses of energy is that plants can pump water back into reservoirs to “use up” the excess energy while also preparing for a future time when they’ll need more water to spin turbines.
While many countries are still exploring exactly how a shift to renewable energy can benefit them, these countries and others are finding excellent methods for saving money and reducing pollution. Want to learn more? Check out our article on Carbon Footprints to learn more about how renewable energy can reduce your personal impact within energy consumption.