The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of life. From public health to how business is conducted to how people live their lives, it has all been altered by the ongoing pandemic.
In some ways, the pandemic accelerated the need for new ways of thinking about approaching life. But, in other ways, it halted and stunted progress in important areas.
One example of the latter is work to effect positive developments for climate change. For instance, more than two-thirds of European municipalities that were surveyed in the most recent World Economic Forum's Chief Economics Outlook reported having investment gaps "with respect to climate change mitigation." This is a potentially big issue moving forward as countries look to ramp up the move to renewable energy.
As a leading developer of utility-scale renewable energy projects in the United States, Green Development LLC believes that it is important for U.S. citizens to understand which countries are leading the way in renewable energy and the factors contributing to their successes.
Iceland's transition to renewable energy started -- and was completed -- well before the pandemic. In fact, it has already achieved nearly 100% renewable energy, with 73% of electricity provided by hydropower plants and 26.8% from geothermal energy.
Iceland benefits from having a wealth of natural resources that can be harnessed into renewable energy. But, the determination of leaders in the country to transition to clean energy made it all come to fruition. At one point, Iceland's economy was crumbling thanks to its reliance on fossil fuels. Now, it's thriving and generates more clean energy per resident than any other country.
Sweden is another country that has been very aggressive in transitioning to renewable energy. It stated a goal of reaching 50% usage of renewable energy by 2030, and it may reach that goal early. But, ultimately, the country wants to get to 100% renewable energy by 2040.
Sweden has increased its investment in solar, wind, smart grids, energy storage, and clean transportation in recent years to help them get there. Combined with their ample supply of water that's converted to bioenergy and hydropower, Sweden is one of the leaders in renewable energy.
Despite the country's reliance on fossil fuels, the United States has been investing in renewable energy in recent years. Consequently, the U.S. ranks second for wind and solar energy capacity in the world, just behind China in both categories.
During the pandemic, the U.S. government was aggressive in doling out economic aid. The latest plan, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, earmarked money specifically to build a greener economy. According to the World Economic Forum's Chief Economics Outlook, the recovery packages in the U.S. were much larger than other world leaders while also having the power to be very transformative.
Germany has committed to renewable energy, and it's doing it in a surprising way. While Germany would be considered cloudy as a country, it is focusing on solar energy to generate 65% of all power from renewable sources by 2030. Thus far, it's doing pretty well, too. In the first six months of 2018, Germany produced sufficient renewable energy to power all households in the country for one year.
Like other European countries, Germany could also benefit from the Next Generation EU recovery fund, which totaled €540 billion, or roughly $652 billion. As the World Economic Forum's Chief Economics Outlook reports, the EU budget from 2021-27 combined with the NGEU has the highest climate component of all the major recovery packages. In fact, 30% of that money is targeted specifically for climate change mitigation.
The South American country currently gets nearly all of its energy from sources that are renewable. In the last nine years, Uruguay has increased its renewable energy production from 40% of total energy to now 95%.
The country accomplished this impressive feat thanks to a robust partnership between the private and public sectors. The government supported the renewable energy sector with supporting regulations but didn't need to subsidize companies in the industry. As a result, solar and wind power lead the way for Uruguay.
About Green Development LLC
Green Development LLC is the leading developer of utility-scale renewable energy projects in Rhode Island, specializing in wind, solar, and battery storage. The company delivers significant energy savings to municipalities, quasi-public entities, nonprofits, and other qualified entities through the virtual net metering program while providing long-term lease payments to landowners and farmers.
Since 2009, Green Development has been instrumental in transforming the energy mix in Rhode Island to clean, reliable energy. The company has developed more than 70 MW in solar and wind capacity, with plans to add 75 MW in 2021. Green Development is devoted to preserving farmland, reducing water and air pollution, increasing energy security, and creating local jobs. Current wind and solar sites reduce carbon emissions equivalent to using 8,557,790 gallons of gas each year.