Many governments worldwide are currently working on programs to move a large part of their energy needs over to alternative energy sources. With the increase in natural disasters, people are finding that moving to solar, wind and other energy alternatives is imperative. But with all great ideas, there are always hindrances and drawbacks. Every country has had its share of those. They are learning from mistakes and continuing to move forward.
Renewable Energy Germany
As the world’s fourth largest economy, Germany has set targets to be completely free of fossil fuels by the year 2020. At one time, about 90 percent of the nation was using alternative energy. But many different things have gone wrong over the past few years and the country has had its share of setbacks.
In spite of all this, Germany is moving forward and now planning to reboot their energy program, known as Energiewende. Their experts believe they’ve learned a lot from their past failures and have now set goals to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2020. Their primary objective is to completely phase out nuclear power, since it has such devastating potential for irreversible damage to the environment.
Alternative Energy Wales
The renewable energy sector in Wales is overseen by the UK Government. Wales had set a goal to move about 70 percent of its energy needs over to alternative power by the year 2030. Now the government is saying they will probably miss those goals. The reasons vary but Westminster holds control over the subsidies for renewable energy. They have recently decided to financially support other regions and technologies due to the falling costs of certain technologies.
In spite of all that, Wales has just opened its first and largest onshore wind farm. With 76 turbines at the £365m Pen y Cymoedd location, the plant employs about 25 people. It can supply up to 15 percent of the energy needs in Wales. It took three years to build and required almost one thousand employees from different trades. Experts are hoping that all of the energy needs in Wales can be met with renewable sources within the next 20 years.
Hydroelectricity in England
England began its journey to reduce carbon emissions in the 1990’s using hydroelectricity. Since England is surrounded by water, it seemed like a great solution. The country has also experimented with wind farms but these have not provided the best results. Since England does not get as much sunlight as other nations, they have not explored solar power to any real extent.
For them, hydroelectricity seems to be working better than other forms of renewable energy. At the moment, England derives approximately 30 percent of its energy from hydroelectricity. Their goal is to continue experimenting with waterwheel and wind mill technologies to determine the most reliable and cost-efficient methods. By the year 2040, England estimates that only 6 percent of its energy will be derived from nuclear plants.