Via Forbes : In 2017, Watch Out For These 5 Nations Pushing To The Forefront In Renewable Energy
China recently emerged as the new global champion of solar energy. Earlier this month, its grand vision of a low-carbon future and colossal efforts to meet those targets made headlines the world over. Though it continues to build coal-fired power plants at a rapid clip, by 2020, Chinese government plans call for meeting 27% of the country’s total power output through renewable energy. By 2050, the economic giant wants to take that figure up to 80%.
But China is not the only country marching toward a green future. In 2017 watch out for these five emerging economies quietly surging ahead of the pack towards clean energy. (I have omitted India from the list on purpose. Its progress merits a separate full-length post).
Latin America is leaping ahead into a renewables-led future, and Chile is currently the leader of this pack. El Romero, its solar-energy plant in the Atacama Desert, is the largest in South America, built with an investment injection of $343 million. Recently linked with the national grid El Romero still hasn’t reached its full capacity yet. But by April next year it’s expected to generate 196 megawatts of power, enough to light quarter of a million homes. Through the project Chile is looking to offset 474,000 metric tonnes of Co2 emissions spewed by its coal-powered plants. But overall El Romero will spur growth in solar projects all across Latin America. For a continent abundantly rich in year-round sunshine Chile’s mega project opens new avenues to adopt and expand on clean energy technologies.
Kenya’s vast potential in geo-thermal energy still remains unexploited. The bustling East African economy is, however, eager to be a regional clean energy leader and geo-thermal superpower. Given its performance in 2016 Kenya is already on track for attracting the right kind of interest and investment. Japan has shown keen interest in funding Kenya’s green projects. It’s largest geo-thermal project Olkaria, estimated to have a latent production capacity of 1000 megawatts, on full exploitation can power up pretty much the whole country. Kenya’s geo-thermal output has risen remarkably since 2000. According to official figures it has reached 533 megawatts from a measly 45 megawatts. The country plans to add another 721 megawatts of power from geothermal and wind projects to the national grid by 2021 with an investment worth over $7.8 billion. Apart from geo-thermal Kenya is also building capacity in solar energy. A growing number of Kenyans in the countryside are ditching dirty diesel in favour of shiny solar panels to meet their daily needs.
Head to Brazil’s if you would like to see how 1000 wind turbines at one site shave off three million tonnes of Co2 emissions a year, while generating 2 gigawatts of power. From almost nothing in 2009 to over 360 wind projects Brazil has moved fast on capturing and exploiting the growth in renewables energy markets. With another 175 projects under construction Brazil’s goal is to capitalise on $7 billion of investment contracts in the country. Total output from all wind-farm projects in Brazil has touched almost 10 gigawatts. But Chinese investment, strategy and technology share is what will transform Brazil’s fortunes in the coming years. A number of Chinese companies including Huawei, Yingli and Goldwind have signed up contracts to boost the green energy market in Brazil. Solar projects have expanded to 2 gigawatts capacity in the country too.
The push for a giant leap towards renewable energy has come all the way from the top of the government, thanks to President Tsai Ing-wen’s de-nuclearization policy. The tiny island nation is looking to invest $56 billion to grow its current share of renewable energy output to 20% by 2025, pushing it up to five times its current level. In October, the cabinet sent a revised draft to the parliament incorporating amendments to the Electricity Act, and hopes to have it approved early in the new year. With this bold move the Ing-wen’s government is also aiming to attract more investment and private companies into the renewables power market. So far Taiwan has hit the right notes. The same month Singapore’s Equis Funds Group announced to invest $46.5 million into building a solar and wind project in central Taiwan, likely to commence operation by next March.
Despite the political upheaval Egypt is surprisingly still one of the most attractive destinations in the renewables market, worth over $15 billion. World Bank’s On Doing Business report ranked the country 88 out of 190 nations, a jump of 41 places from the previous list, under the Getting Electricity index. Egypt was recently also praised by Oxford Business Group, an economic research group, for its potential and efforts in the clean energy field. By 2022, it said, the country was planning to increase power generated by renewable sources to 20%, up from the current 12%. By 2030, it hopes to add an additional capacity of 50 gigawatts with investments to the tune of $135 billion. Just last month Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity signed energy contracts worth $662 million towards generation of 400 megawatts of solar energy. In spite of a recent spate of disagreements with private investors, some of whom pulled out of feed-in tariff projects, Egypt is set to rise as a renewable power house in the coming year.