Global warming and the depletion of fossil fuels is a global problem, which needs a global solution. Earlier this year and in 2016, we have spoken about the significant benefits of burning wood as a truly sustainable, environmentally friendly heating source, in the homes of more environmentally friendly people.

Wood aside, there are other energy sources, used on a larger, national scale, which should be acknowledged as key contributors to a cleaner, greener more sustainable world. While wood is great for heating a home, we must also consider the bigger picture, and how countries provide a greener energy source for it’s inhabitants. Inhabitants who may otherwise may not take a proactive approach themselves towards a sustainable, green life.

Here is what different countries are currently doing:

Denmark – This country aims to be free of fossil fuel usage by 2050. An impressive target to say the least. They already produce a massive 42% of it’s electricity from wind farms, which is a world record! Denmark is a particularly windy country, where all the wind power could in theory provide 140% of the countries electricity requirement.

China – Despite it being the largest carbon emitting country in the world, they also have the largest wind energy capacity in the world too, which stands at over 114,000 MegaWatts in 2014 – almost 10 times the amount compared to the UK. It is estimated that by 2020, over 15% of the energy in China will come from renewable energy sources.

Scotland – In 2015 alone, wind power in Scotland produced the equivalent to 97% of it’s total households electrical needs. Renewable electricity in Scotland in 2015 was up 15.2% compared to 2014.  57.7% of Scotland’s electricity came from renewables in 2015. Wave and wind power are two abundant elements in Scotland, which make a significant contribution towards their renewable energy.

Uruguay – Not many people would automatically think about Uruguay as a pioneer, when it comes to renewable energy. However, we should sit up and take note. This country gets an incredible 95% of its electricity power from renewable energy. A significant achievement by any countries standard. The renewable energy is mainly from solar and wind.

USA – In 2014, every 2 minutes 30 seconds a new solar energy system was installed somewhere in the USA. However, renewable energy still only accounts for around 13% of the total electricity demand in this country.

Kenya – This country is heavily focused on  geothermal energy. In 2015 geothermal accounted for just over 50% of Kenya’s energy mix. This is a significant leap in comparison to only 13% in 2010.

Morocco – Morocco has the largest solar plant on earth. It’s location is excellent with long, hot sunny days making it an ideal location for such. Combined with it’s wind and hydro plants, these renewable energies will produce 50% of Moroccos total electricity requirements by around the year 2020.

Costa Rica – You may have been impressed by Uruguay with 95% of its electricity power sourced from renewable energy. However, Costa Rica goes one better….. 99% of its electricity comes from renewable energy. It achieves this through a range of sources including hydroelectric, geothermal and solar power. This country aims to be carbon neutral by 2021.

What About The UK?

In 2011 only 8.8% of electricity was produced by renewable energy sources. In 2015 this had rose to 22.3%. Renewable energy in the UK, and in some other countries, started many years ago. The Romans created waterwheel technology, which was one of the very first forms of renewable, sustainable energy development, not including the burning of wood.

Wind power is a growing renewable energy source in the UK, with it currently being the worlds 6th largest producer of wind power.

Due to it being an island the UK has easy access to the sea for renewable energy. However, this source of energy has received very little in the form of funding to really consider it a key source at this current time.

Solar power is a small but growing renewable energy source in the UK. However, due to it not receiving huge amounts of sunshine (as we all know too well!), this will never be on the same levels as countries like Morocco. However, it is predicted that by 2020 around 4 million homes will be powered by solar.

What can we learn about other countries?

It is clear that the wealthiest countries are not necessarily leading the way when it comes to being carbon neutral. Countries like Uruguay and Costa Rica, which are relatively poor countries, have made exceptional advancements that puts more developed countries to shame in some respects. The key elements for a growth in renewables is a commitment from the government combined with relevant funding. Also a countries natural climate, geography and location are critical factors, which will dictate the type of renewable energy, and to what extent a country can reply on them.