Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Real Green Role Models

There is lots of hype in the energy discourse. Here we present the real way selected countries are generating their electricity.

We may be surprised to find out which are the countries actually taming fossil fuels in their electricity production. These countries tend to be quiet and yet they are the real role models the rest of the world should follow. World, are you listening?

Let's start the "tour."

Note: all graphs are from the latest IEA report. A link to the full report is provided at the end of this page.

Australia: in the land of uranium, coal rules.

Canada: go, Canada, go!

Denmark: good green PR, but in reality fossil fuels are still #1.

Finland: not yet "there" but most of its electricity comes from low carbon sources.

France: stop the presses! France HAS arrived. They have nearly eliminated fossil fuels from electricity production. Félicitations!

Germany: going nowhere, fast.

Japan: TOTAL MELTDOWN! Fossil fuels have come home to roost.

The Netherlands: WTF? Seriously, people.

Norway: if you have the hydro resources, don't think twice. GO HYDRO!

Spain: the most balanced energy diet on Earth. They do seem to believe in: never put all your eggs in the same basket.

Sweden: Almost paradise!

Switzerland: better than a Swiss watch! Looow carbon electricity.

UK: one year late, and one nuclear plant short.

USA: there is really nothing new to see here. Move on.

Conclusion: we can make mental exercises, scheme in a piece of paper and develop catchy slogans but actual results show who are the real green leaders (at least in the electricity sector). Let's quiet down the hype and focus on realities. Thank you.

Feel free to add to the conversation in Twitter: @luisbaram

Link to full IEA report: (click on May, 2014).

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At 7:54 PM, Blogger TheTracker said...

The numbers are what they are, but I don't think they necessarily imply what you think they imply.

The numbers clearly shows that the lowest-carbon national electrical grids today are those of countries that have a lot of hydro, a lot of nuclear energy, or both.

That does not imply that the best or the only way for a country (or the world) to achieve a low-carbon electrical grid is to add hydro or nuclear to their energy mix. At most, it implies that that is one way to achieve that result.

To illustrate what I'm saying, consider that your data also shows that nuclear energy is flat or in decline in these countries over the period shown. I might that that fact and argue that increasing nuclear energy is "hype" whereas the "reality" is nuclear energy's gradual decline, as an expensive, unprofitable, unpopular enterprise.

But that conclusion would not be valid, because the way things are now is not necessarily the way things are going to be in the future, in fact, if there is to be any hope of decarbonizing our electricity or our civilization as whole, the future cannot resemble the past; big changes are needed, whatever means are pursued.


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