From John Shannon who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.
Good day, Borderstan readers, and please let me take this opportunity to wish you a safe, prosperous and happy New Year!
Well Borderstanis, it has been a spectacular year for progress on the green energy front and for the awareness of citizens around the world on the need to care for and conserve our shared planet.
With those sentiments in mind, I offer you my:
Top 10 Environmental Newsmakers for 2012
- President Barack Obama makes a huge commitment to renewable energy, dramatically changing energy policy – which will make the U.S. energy self-sufficient and the world’s largest oil producer and exporter by 2017.
- China approves legislation to spend more than $438 billion dollars over the next 3 years on conservation, utility-scale wind and solar power plants, mitigation of pollution by airborne particulates (soot) plus, a highly-successful NOx-reduction program. See: overview and here and here also.
- China has decided to install 40 Gigawatts of solar power by 2015 (eight times more than it’s initial 2015 target, set back in 2010).
- Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has set firm policies and targets for renewable energy use in a nation which has been termed, “the world’s first major renewable energy economy”. Renewable electricity will supply 80% of German needs by 2050, for just one example.
- India passed legislation to allow building owners to lease their rooftop space to utility companies to install solar panels, for the purposes of selling power to the Indian electrical grid. For general info on the Indian grid, click here.
- India is building a solar power plant (not half-completed at this point) but is already the largest working solar power plant in the world at 214 megawatts, on its way to a Phase l total of 500 megawatts – ramping up to 1000 megawatts once Phase ll is completed.
- Saudi Arabia plans to spend $109 billion dollars on solar and nuclear power by 2016 — thereby allowing much more of its oil to be exported to the West.
- Under Dubai’s ‘Green Economy for Sustainable Development’ plan, that city will complete construction of a 1000 megawatt solar power plant by 2030. (The plant is already producing electricity and as more panels are installed, each bloc of panels are connected to the grid). This is in addition to other green energy power projects the United Arab Emirates are building.
- The African Development Bank Group approved $800 million earlier this year to increase solar and wind power production in Morocco. The eventual goal is to help Morocco raise it’s installed renewable energy capacity to 42% by 2020, setting the stage for electricity exports to Europe.
- Denmark will have all of it’s energy needs met by renewable sources by 2050 and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent (compared to 1990 levels) before 2020. They have already met their 2020 solar power goals and are on-track to surpass others. Fully half of Denmark’s energy will come from wind turbines installed offshore.
And that isn’t even the half of it! There are so many ‘good-news’ green energy and sustainable development stories out there, that it is a full-time job to stay abreast of them.
On a personal note, it has been my pleasure to inform you about developments in the green energy sector over the past months. I warmly welcome comments and suggestions for future topics that you might like to see covered here at Borderstan.
Happy New Year to you!