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It’s Not All Doom and Gloom Here on Planet Earth

09/05/2011

Image credit: Sebastian Celis

Around the world, countries are setting some enviable examples in the field of renewable energy.

This summer Australia implemented a carbon tax, and soon after GE Energy Financial Services partnered with First Solar and Verve Energy to construct a solar farm ten times bigger than Australia’s current largest. The Australian government also now requires that each new desalination plants get its power from renewable sources.

Meanwhile, Kenya is taking advantage of the increased geothermal activity associated with it its location atop the East African Rift. Nineteen corporations are now bidding to build eight geothermal power plants in the Bogoria-Silali region in northwest Kenya. The Kenyan government hopes that geothermal energy will satisfy 30% of its electricity needs by 2030.

The state of Hawaii is a step ahead of them. Ormat Technologies are milking–lavaing?–the island’s active volcanoes to produce 20% of Hawaii’s electricity, an amount which would otherwise take 144,000 barrels of oil yearly to generate.

But none of these comes close to New Zealand’s renewable track record. This country now gets 79% of its electricity from clean sources, and plans to increase that to 90% by 2025. To this end, two enormous wind farms were recently constructed there.

Wind energy is a promising sector. During the first six months of 2011, worldwide wind capacity rose 9%. Combined with the International Energy Agency’s recent projection that solar power could produce 50% of humanity energy by 2050, I’m feeling pretty good about our energy future. Maybe we can kick this oil addiction after all.

UPDATE: A country I forgot to mention is Germany, which has quadrupled its renewable energy production since 2000 and which now gets 20.8% of its electricity from renewable sources. The country is aiming to get 35% of its power from renewables by 2020.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/12/2011 9:22 AM

    There’s something fishy about your German number of saving 144,000 bbl of oil per year. That’s not very much oil, in the larger scheme of things. Can you check your source?

  2. 09/12/2011 1:35 PM

    That wasn’t Germany–it was Hawaii, using geothermal energy to produce an annual amount of electricity equivalent with 144,000 barrels of oil. You can find my source by clicking the link.

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