Renewable energy doesn’t just have to benefit the environment. The impact of a country investing in renewable energies can be exponential. Invest in the right technologies and an economy, as well as the environment, can really flourish. Not only can it make bills cheaper for people right across the land but renewables need great scientific minds to design the technology, engineers to install the new technology and everyday workers to deliver the energy from wind farm to your home.
With most countries in the West still a long way from 100% renewable status, there are several countries around the world who we can learn from. Not only are these countries utilising their natural resources in the right way, but they are building a thriving renewable industry, which is pioneering the future of energy.
Brilliant coffee, 5% of the world’s biodiversity and one of the highest life expectancies on earth. It’s no wonder Costa Rica consistently tops the polls as one of the world’s happiest countries.
It’s not just coffee or happiness that Costa Rica thrives in either. Home to an abundance of vast rivers, active volcanoes and strong pacific winds, Costa Ricans have been able to harness their natural environment for huge success. Just last year Costa Rica was able to run 271 consecutive days on nothing but renewables. An incredible feat that has made a huge impression on the media around the world.
So how did they do it? Well, like most countries investing in renewables they’ve been able to capitalise on hydropower as their dominant energy source. Utilising its large and complex river network, Costa Rica produce 74% of its energy needs from hydropower. But it’s not just their rivers they’re harnessing either, as one of the world’s most active volcano regions, Costa Rica generates nearly 13% of its energy from geothermal sources along with a further 10% from wind power.
Sandwiched between two of Latin America’s powerhouses, Uruguay is a South American treasure that doesn’t always get the praise it deserves. Often overlooked by the world media in favour of neighbouring Brazil or Argentina, Uruguay has quietly gone about its business building a laid back and progressive society.
And it really is a progressive state. Particularly when it comes to the environment and ensuring they’re doing their bit to help halt climate change. Investing in nearly every method of renewable energy available, Uruguay is proud to boast that 95% of its electricity needs are solved with the use of renewable energy.
Uruguay’s success is particularly impressive when you look at the timelines for launching their environmental project. In 2008 they were producing only 10% of their electricity needs from renewables. A remarkable 85% growth in just under 10 years.
The country that plants more trees than any other, the first electorate to elect a female a prime minister and virtually zero crime. To the outsider, Iceland may seem like some futuristic societal paradise.
It’s not just environmental and policing policies that seem futuristic either. Lying 168 miles just off the coast of the Arctic Circle, it would be fair to say that Iceland has always had to be self-sufficient. It’s not the type of place where you can pipe gas and reaching by Iceland by sea with oil tankers can be a dangerous and complicated voyage.
Home to over 200 volcanoes, Iceland is one of the first nations on earth to embrace renewables as its main source of energy. Today if you decide to visit Iceland you will find that all your electricity and heating comes from renewable sources of energy.
It’s pretty impressive too. Although it generate the majority of its energy from an abundance of hydropower, if you decide to travel around Iceland you will be able to see first-hand the geothermal power plants that supply hot water to all Icelanders.