The world has realized that our energy production must move to renewable sources. This is to stem the pollution of the environment. However, how is the transition from fossil-based fuels going for each country? In this article, we will consider how the world‘s major economies are transitioning to renewable energy.
The US Energy Information Administration forecast that the share of renewable energy will rise from 20 percent in 2021 to 22 percent in 2022 and 23 percent in 2023.
Interestingly, the share will rise as power demand is projected to climb to 3,995 billion kWh in 2022 and 4,040 billion kWh in 2023, from 3,930 in 2021.
However, power from coal will remain at 23 percent in 2022 and drop a percentage point in 2023. Natural gas will drop from 37 percent in 2021 to 2022 and retain the share in 2023.
The present administration has committed to deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 but targets 25 GW of onshore renewable energy in 2025. It is supporting this move by announcing a new offshore wind leasing strategy that will sell off up to seven new leases by 2025.
China is a powerhouse in the global economy, and its stride in renewable energy suits the profile. The nation had installed 306 GW of solar energy capacity and 328 GW of wind farms at the end of 2021. However, China is far more ambitious as it aims for 1,200 GW of solar and wind energy by 2030.
The country is making use of its deserts, where sunshine is plentiful. It is currently installing 100 GW of solar power in deserts and plans to bring the total installed capacity to 450 GW.
China has promised to increase its wind and solar power share to about 12.2 percent in 2022. However, reacting to the volatility of energy prices triggered by the war in Ukraine, China has indicated it may slow down its move away from fossil-fuel energy.
Japan has been motivated to adopt renewable energy following the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster. As a result, it has become one of the largest markets for renewable energy.
The Asian nation aims for carbon neutrality in 2050 but expects to cut its greenhouse emissions by 46 percent by 2030 based on 2013 levels.
By the end of the decade, renewable energy will account for between 36 and 38 percent. Currently, Japan gets between 22 and 25 percent of its energy from renewable energy.
Breaking down its 2030 renewable energy target, Japan plans to get 10 percent of its energy from hydro plants, 15 percent from the sun, 6 percent from wind, 5 percent from biomass, and 1 percent from geothermal.
As of 2020, Japan was producing 101.37 GW of energy from renewable sources, a 171 percent increase compared to 2011, when it produced 37.4 percent.
The renewable energy market in Japan continues to benefit from strong government policies.
As the largest economy in Europe, Germany gets to set the pace in many aspects. One of the ways the nation is leading is in decarbonization, and it has an ambitious plan to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035.
Germany will phase out its coal-fired power plants by 2030 but will shut down the last of its nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.
Germany should get 80 percent of its energy from wind or solar by the end of the decade under its Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). In the first quarter of 2022, wind and solar power accounted for 50 percent of electricity consumption in the country.
However, faced with the reality of weaning his country off Russian energy, Germany‘s Chancellor Olaf Scholz admitted the nation might have to extend its cut-off date on coal and nuclear power plants.
He commented during a special Bundestag that their energy policy is decisive for their security. As a result, Germany will build two new liquefied natural gas terminals and revive plans for a third terminal in Wilhelmshaven.
The UK plans to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2035. This complements its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 78 percent in the same year compared to 1990.
However, renewables have gained in share, doubling from 2014. In 2020, wind, solar, biomass, and hydro accounted for 43 percent of the UK‘s 312 TWh domestic power production.
According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, the combination of renewable energy and nuclear power would rise to 56 percent share in 2026.
The UK aims for 40 GW of offshore wind energy production by 2030, a significant rise from 11 GW in 2021.
This will be helped by the dropping costs of installing offshore farms. The UK has about 12 GW of onshore wind and 14 GW of solar capacity.
However, as part of its plans to reduce energy dependence on Russia, the UK government is considering approving new oil and gas production in the North Sea.
Renewable energy has been a political issue in France, with parties taking a hard stand on the issue. Le Pen, which lost the presidential election, had threatened to dismantle wind turbines.
However, Emmanuel Macron‘s government had not performed spectacularly in renewable energy. It was the only EU member state to fail its 2020 renewable energy target.
France is also on track to miss its 40 percent emissions reduction target by 2030. Even though it promises to set up 50 offshore wind farms by 2050 with 40 GW, France has only built one.
The main problems facing renewable energy in France are administrative and legal. For example, a wind farm may take up to 8 years to install. This is significantly longer than in other countries and does not bode well for France‘s plan to generate 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, according to its energy transition law of 2015.
Last year, France‘s solar electricity share stood at just 3 percent, which was not much better than 2.5 percent in 2020.
Renewable energy is gaining market share globally. However, volatility in energy prices triggered by the invasion of Ukraine is making some nations reassess their renewable energy target.