On Friday, Africa officially inaugurated its largest wind farm. In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the 310-megawatt facility, and was pleased to announce Kenya’s increasing adoption of renewable energy sources. In his speech regarding the launch of the wind farm, he said:
We are pleased to note that Kenya is without doubt on course to be a global leader in renewable energy.This will not only ensure that our nation’s scenic beauty and unique ecosystems are preserved and protected for both present and future generations, but will also ensure that we become energy independent and that our energy supply will be safe as well as predictable.
Kenya is not the first African country to heavily invest in renewable energy. In 2018, Senegal also incorporated a wind farm into their nation’s power supply. Other African countries are doing the same.
In the United States, it has also been increasing in prominence. In an investor meeting, NextEra Energy predicted that by 2030, 50% of the US will be powered by renewable energy sources. Considering the current administration are gutting EPA regulations and trying to renew the coal energy, this prediction seems surprising. Many other predictions are far more conservative.
In the European Union, many nations have already begun restructuring their energy to come from renewable sources. In 2016, it was reported that 17% of the European Union’s electricity was sourced via renewable energy. That number has doubled since 2004, showing a steady, if slow move towards renewable energy. The EU has a set goal to reach 27% by 2030.
Some countries are more active than others. In 2019, 65% of Germany’s electricity was generated through renewable sources, with 48% of that coming from wind turbines alone. Coal usage in Germany has decreased by half since just last year, showing a swift embrace of renewable energy by the German government.
In the United States, opposition against renewable energy is still strong, but not by who’d you think. Renewable energy has been generating more and more bipartisan support in the last few years, with citizens on both sides coming out in support of lessening our reliance on coal and fossil fuels. Besides vocal support on social media and renewable energy blog articles (as seen here), independent polls have also shown similar support.
However, Republican lawmakers are still adamant on renewing our reliance on the coal industry. Lobbyists and lawmakers alike have attempted to make the argument that disrupting the coal industry will ruin the careers of many Americans. However, despite their best efforts, renewable energy surpassed coal in electricity generation for the first time, roughly three weeks ago.
As renewable energy rises in popularity, it will be interesting to see how lawmakers react to the growing demand. As of yet, there are few regulations against renewable energy, but there is a possibility that we will see an expansion of these in the near future.