When discussing the world of sustainability, it’s easy to get lost in the bad news - thanks to the stories of rising sea levels, increasing global temperatures, renewed fossil fuel usage and deforestation. It’s easy to become disheartened about the work we do to help protect the planet and ensure its continued survival.
This week, we’re aiming to change that - we’re acknowledging the hard work being put in across the globe to help create a more sustainable planet for future generations and sharing the good news stories from dedicated countries, leaders and innovators trying to stop climate change for good.
So if you need a little boost of good news from the world of sustainability, keep reading!
As recently shared by Ember Climate researchers, 14 countries around the world have experienced their lowest levels of fossil fuel generation in the first half of 2023 than ever before. From Estonia and Finland to Austria and Italy, the EU fossil fuel levels have dropped by 17% compared to figures taken from 2022. With figures of coal generation decreasing by 23% year-on-year, the Russian gas supply pipeline falling by 75% and Greece surviving for over 80 days without fossil fuel usage, this is a staggering piece of research - highlighting the positive climate changes happening within Europe.
Denmark has long been a front-runner when it comes to direct climate action, with Danish engineer Henrik Stiesdal helping to design the first modern wind turbine as we know it today. As his work has expanded, developed and grown, he’s now leading some of the most important green projects in Europe. After creating his first design as a 21 year old man from Jutland, he’s now 66 years old, and still working to develop new innovations to help keep Denmark green. Currently developing an electrolyzer, a machine designed to extract hydrogen gas from water, Stiesdal is inspiring and encouraging new ideas and methods of sustainable fuel production throughout the world.
As shared in August 2023, the UK has hit a record number of solar panel and heat pump installations across the country. In both businesses and homes, the number of consumers switching to more eco-friendly and ethical forms of fuel has drastically increased, breaking the records set by last year's numbers. With more than 17,000 homes installing solar panels in their homes each month, the total figure predicted by the end of the year is set to be impressive, marking a huge change from previous years.
Ian Rippin, chief executive of industry standards body MCS, explains “As the cost of energy continues to grow, we are seeing more people turn to renewable technology to generate their own energy and heat at home.”
In more great news from across the continent, China is set to reach its targets for wind and solar power ahead of schedule in 2023. As a recent report states, ‘China is set to double its capacity and produce 1,200 gigawatts of energy through wind and solar power by 2025’, reaching the goal initially set for 2030 five years earlier than expected. With data revealing that the installations in the north and north-west provinces of Shanxi, Xinjiang and Hebei are the centrepoint of China’s extraordinary solar capacity, generating more solar power in the first quarter of 2023 than the rest of the world collectively.
In terms of wind power, China has equally excelled itself, doubling the level of power generated in 2017 and utilising its combined offshore and onshore wind farms to generate an impressive 310GW - with new farms still yet to be constructed. With the development of these additional farms, it’s predicted that China will therefore be increasing the global wind fleet by half, compared to the rest of the world.
This year, more than ever, global collaboration and commitment to sustainability is of the utmost importance, as we enter a new phase of concerning climate change. Despite ranking at 112th out of 166 in the SDG Index Ranking, India’s commitment to sustainable development has steadily been increasing - most recently through renewable energy firm ‘ACME Group’. As announced by Reuters in August, the ACME Group has recently invested over $3.27 billion in a green hydrogen and ammonia project in the state of Odisha.
Acquiring 343 acres of land in an industrial park, ACME and developers Tata Steel are working together to build a green hydrogen production plant with a predicted output of 1.3 million tonnes per annum - contributing hugely to the overall renewable energy goals of India.
Across the globe, more and more countries are recognising both the opportunities and sustainable benefits of wind turbines as a source of energy for their people. In the first half of 2023, data revealed that the global intake orders of wind turbines had reached their highest, with 69.5 gigawatts (GW) of activity currently being produced. Not only is this a 12% increase on the figures from the years prior, but it’s also a great indicator of the countries likely to hit their sustainability targets and goals this year.
With countries and regions such as North America, China, Europe and the Middle East all investing and ordering wind energy equipment in 2023, it’s likely the data for renewable wind energy will increase exponentially over the next few months.
‘It is easy to perceive climate change as just one problem. But we must not forget that it is a group of infinite parties and problems, it is extremely complex, and it is not something that can be resolved overnight. Sustainability emerges as a guiding principle to tackle this intricate issue, leading us to take small steps in the right direction. We should remember to look back and reflect on how far we have come as a society, and feel empowered by the vast potential for further improvements.’
Claudia Mayne Cusell - Land Analyst, Clean Energy Capital.