Today’s Solutions: January 19, 2022

Europe made history over the last six months when it generated more electricity from renewable sources than it did from fossil fuels. Over 40 percent of the electricity used by the EU’s 27 member states came from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, and bioenergy. In contrast, fossil fuels generated only 34 percent.  

This highlights the incredible success story of Europe’s renewable energy policy. Just five years ago, coal plants generated twice as much electricity as wind and solar; now the opposite is the case. Coal represents just 12 percent of energy production in the EU, while wind and solar provide 21 percent.  

Austria, Spain, and Sweden recently closed their last coal-powered plants, while Portugal’s coal reliance fell by 95 percent. Even Germany, by far Europe’s most populous country, saw a 39 percent reduction in electricity produced from coal. Europe also saw an across-the-board reduction in electricity produced from natural gas.  

Renewables, particularly wind and solar, completely overperformed. Wind and solar power accounted for 64 percent of Denmark’s electricity generation, 49 percent of Ireland’s, and 42 percent in Germany. Not only that: In contrast to claims by critics that renewable energy is undependable, Europe’s board of energy producers found there were no significant issues with consistent supply.  

Not only is renewable energy clean and consistent; it’s also cheap. Poland, a coal-reliant country, saw wholesale electricity prices of 46 dollars per megawatt-hour, while in Germany, thanks to renewable energy, prices averaged 26 dollars per hour.

Why has Europe been so successful in its implementation of renewable energy sources? Experts suggest that the answer lies in starting early and being consistent. The benefits of renewable energy won’t appear overnight; some investment and foresight is required. Furthermore, countries should play to their strengths: Sunny Spain built plenty of solar, while Britain’s consistent offshore gusts pushed it to invest in wind power.

While there’s no catch-all solution to the energy crisis, following Europe’s innovative approach is surely a step in the right direction.  

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

The Philippines bans child marriage to help stop child abuse

According to a report issued last year by the United Nations Children’s Fund, more than half a billion girls and women across the globe were married as children, meaning under the age of majority (18). ... Read More

This circular leather alternative is made from algae and peels

As people are increasingly becoming reluctant to use clothes and fashion accessories made out of animal-sourced leather, more and more designers are turning their eyes towards more sustainable and ethical alternatives. One of the latest ... Read More

Rapidly retrofitting old buildings is key for climate goals – Here̵...

Buildings account for about 40 percent of annual global carbon emissions. In order to meet our climate goals, every building on the planet will have to be net-zero by 2050. But since most of the ... Read More

IKEA buys land ravaged by hurricane to transform into forests

The Optimist Daily has shared several stories about the popular Swedish furniture company IKEA and its environmentally friendly initiatives such as its buyback and resell program, its pledge to stop using plastic packaging, its zero-waste ... Read More

This market is tossing “use-by” dates to help curb food waste

The British supermarket Morrisons has decided to remove “use-by” dates on milk packaging by the end of the month in an effort to save millions of pints of milk from being needlessly thrown away each ... Read More

The population of Ugandan tree-climbing lions is growing

One of the only populations of Ishasha tree-climbing lions in the world resides in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). Unfortunately, the population faces numerous threats such as loss of habitat, climate change, and illegal ... Read More