Category Archives: Renewable Energy

Sun, Wind and Water: Africa’s Renewable Energy Set to Soar by 2022


There has been a loud cry for clean, more efficient, less carbon sources of energy all over the world. About 22 percent of electricity on the world is produced by renewable energy, while the remaining 78 percent is by the use of fossil fuels — gas, coal, etc. This accounts for the massive global warming worldwide; and also the desertification, gully erosion and flooding experienced in some parts of Africa.

Africa too is having a shift towards the use of renewable energy. Countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, and few other countries are making headway in the use of renewables. Energy officials have said that the strong demand for power in Africa would give rise to the use of renewables in the next 5 years.

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So many communities in African nations (especially Sub-saharan Africa) just have access to electricity by the advent of the use of renewable energy in those places. Much more people now have access to power.

In Nigeria, the Energy commission have forecast that by 2030, Nigeria would need about 200,000MW of power to be able to effectively distribute electricity to it’s citizens. This can’t be achieved by the use of gas alone; but more of the renewables — sun, wind, and water; and even biomass; because of the current rate of production (which is about 5,500MW).

In some places in Nigeria, power has become affordable and easy to access. For example, in Ofetebe community in Edo State, Nigeria, a solar mini-grid produces 4kW of electricity to power a community borehole, a clinic, 30 households, a barber shop and relaxation spots like a video parlour. The cost of installation was about N4.8m, the mini grid will last for 30 years: an investment of N500 per month for each household. The community would therefore enjoy electricity every day, 365 days per year.

Ghana is currently building what is to be Africa’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant with $400m, which will consequently produce 155MW (the Nzema Solar Project). Kenya is also planning for sufficient solar power to provide more than half of the country’s electricity by 2016. Construction of the plants that would help achieve such is expected to cost $1.2bn. (For the same amount, Nigeria could build about 1,000km of gas pipelines – but this would constitute only 10% of what she needs).

The use of renewable energy in Africa is really growing. Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable division at the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) had this to say, “A big chunk of this (growth) is hydro because of Ethiopia, but then you have solar sources in South Africa, Nigeria and Namibia and wind in South Africa and Ethiopia as well.”

He forecast that the installed capacity of renewable energy in the Sub-Sahara region would almost double the current 35 gigawatts to above 60 gigawatts under the right conditions. Ethiopia has a set of hydro-power projects that are being constructed, this includes the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River that will produce about 6,000 megawatts when it is completed.

This is sufficient for an averagely populated city for a year. “Africa has one of the best potential resources of renewables anywhere in the world, but it depends very much on the enabling framework, on the governance and the right rules,” Frankl told Reuters on the sidelines of a wind energy conference. The advocacy for a low-carbon energy source to reduce harmful greenhouse gases is a form of threat to industries who use fossil fuels, as well as beneficiaries of such.

In Africa, South Africa’s state-owned electricity company, Eskom, best illustrates the effect of the shift from fossil energy to renewable energy. The company has shown reluctance to sign new deals with independent power producers, according to analysts.

In May 2017, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) said that the energy regulator agreed to probe into Eskom’s refusal to sign the agreements that delayed almost 3,000 megawatts

in new solar and wind projects. Mark Pickering, chairman of SAWEA, said on Wednesday, “Our government does not appear to appreciate the forces of nature.”

Eskom’s reluctance to sign the new power purchase agreements for two years has delayed investment of $4.03 billion, and affected investors’ confidence with the record of at least one wind turbine being closed down. “The continent has a lot of potential, but the problem is financial and political issues, so all of our projects are being delayed for quite a long time, like with Eskom,” said Mason Qin, business development manager for southern and eastern Africa.

Hence, the strong demand for less carbon energy, and the prospective plans of African nations regarding electricity, and the demands to achieve such plans, has projected that, only by the use of renewable energy can these be achieved. 5 years would be sufficient to make this shift in Africa much clearer.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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India to be Mainstay in Global Energy Scene by 2040, Says IEA Report


Analysts have deduced that the energy demand rate in India may rise by 1,005 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), and between a period of 2016 to 2040. This accounts for about 30 percent of the world’s energy demand within the same period of years (i.e., 2016-2040). This implies that, India’s demand alone will surpass the increase in energy demand of places like China (790 Mtoe), West Asia (480 Mtoe); and Africa (485 Mtoe), during the above period.

It is very predictable that India would likely lead the global energy demand growth by 2040, as reported by the International Energy Agency in its annual World Energy Outlook report, 2017, on Tuesday. In comparison with places of high energy demands as estimated by the agency such as China, West Asia, Africa, etc, the Indian energy demand would surpass.

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However, US, Japan and Europe may reduce their energy demand by 30 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), 50 Mtoe, and 200 Mtoe, respectively, by. 2040. It is very clear from the analysis, that there would be much more energy demand in India than in any other place by 2040.

Considering the current state of the nation, India, as it booms in manufacturing and a bigger, richer, more-urbanized population set the nation on the path of quick and steady expansion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. The country’s oil demand is expected to attain a whooping quantity of about 10 million barrels per day in the next quarter of a century, marking, most probably, the IEA forecast fastest growth in the world.

The statement was by the Paris-based agency, said in a report released on Tuesday, Last month. The use of coal which is the mainstay of the country’s power generation, will also increase due to cities, adding about 315 million people, the international energy agency said in its report. India, home to a sixth of the world’s population, currently accounts for only 6 percent of global energy use at present, which implies that one out of every five Indians are yet to gain access to electricity.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s government has pledged to bridge that abyss, promising to light up every house by 2019. In order to achieve an effective national electricity supply, the nation plans a record increase in coal production as it builds new cities and as it has taken on an unprecedented $200 billion plan to generate renewable energy.

Environmental concerns have been raised, particularly air pollution resulting from India’s expanding industrialization and urbanization, with several of its cities reporting an alarming decline in air quality. Rapid growth in energy use, especially the use of fossil fuels like coal, may exacerbate the situation, the IEA said.

India has vowed to increase power-generation capacity using non-fossil fuels to 40% by 2030. They would cut an alternative path of relying on solar, wind and other renewable energy projects, to meet its clean-energy goals, in view of the slow progress in constructing large dams and nuclear plants, according to the agency. A policy framework will be critical to meeting India’s energy demand, the IEA said, pointing to losses from local electricity distribution.

A policy overhaul will help attract necessary investments of an estimated amount of $2.8 trillion in energy supplies. While India looks all ready to have the fastest growth in energy demand, the structural shifts in China’s economy may likely result in an 85% reduction in energy use for every unit of growth there, according to the report.

The IEA report says that traditional disparities between energy producers and consumers are not clear, and that a new set of major developing countries, led by India, is moving towards centre stage. “There is a fourfold shift towards the rapid deployment and falling costs of clean energy technologies, the growing electrification of energy, to a more service-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix in China, and the resilience of shale gas and tight oil in the United States,” the Paris based agency said in its report.

Rapid deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV), led by India and China, will help solar energy become the most prominent source of low carbon capacity by 2040, the report said. The energy agency has also deduced that electricity demand in India would double by 2040. It would be 2,504 billion units, in juxtaposition with the 1,154 billion units in 2016 and 2017.

Thus, from the IEA forecast, the large population of India, the current consumption and demand for energy in India; and the abounding industrialization and urbanization ongoing in India. It is safe to conclude that between 2016 and 2040, India would be the mainstay of global energy demand.

Source: IEA

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Why is an Oil Company Leading California’s Biggest Solar Power Project?


The quest for sustainable energy, especially solar energy, has been one fraught with difficulty, with one of the main obstacles being the power of the oil and gas juggernaut.

This is why the news that Aera Energy, owned jointly by ExxonMobil and Shell, would be partnering with GlassPoint Solar to create the largest solar energy project in California came as such a surprise to the world when plans were announced on the 29th of November 2017.

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The site of this ambitious project is located in Belridge oilfield, one of the largest in the country, which is just west of Bakersfield. It will be the first of its kind in the world – a project that will begin to use solar power instead of other sources of energy to provide energy to oilfields. The project is set to take up 770 acres and will rise to build an 850 MW solar thermal facility to power the oilfield and a 26.5 MW photovoltaic facility to provide electricity to the location.

The project’s purpose is simple: to generate steam that can be used to assist in the oil extraction process when it is injected into the ground. Heavy oil is created through this process, as the steam heats oil in reservoirs so it can be pumped up to surface level. Belridge’s oil production is at 76,000 barrels a day today. By using thermal energy from the sun instead of traditional gas, this project will do wonders for the environment.

The aim is to be able to create a whopping 12 million barrels of steam annually, which will serve as a replacement for the 4.9 billion cubit feet of natural gas that would have been needed to create the same amount of steam. This will save an estimated over 376,000 metric tons in carbon emissions – roughly as many as 80,000 cars would produce annually.

But was has led a traditional energy corporation like Aera Energy to make the leap into assisting in the production of renewable, sustainable energy? There are a multitude of reasons beyond the simple desire to help better the environment.

The biggest factor that could have led to this decision is the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy. With solar power, large investments are necessary, but following that, you receive more than your money’s worth back as fuel production is essentially free aside from any necessary maintenance costs. As mentioned, without solar power, 4.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas would be needed to produce 12 million barrels of steam per year – and the price of that is $3 per cubic feet, which adds up to $15 million savings annually. In terms of carbon credits, the estimated savings are about $5 million annually.

On top of all that, participating on solar and renewable energy projects could be good for any company in the long run – especially in California, where the costs of running a business can be high enough to demand a better performance and social acceptance.

The project is even more doable due to California’s extension of its cap-and-trade system on carbon dioxide emissions, which now goes on till 2030. Without this extension providing legislative support as well as regulatory stability, funding the project, which is ahead of its time and may not become economically profitable as a whole for a few more decades, may not have been possible.

Aera Energy won’t be working with an inexperienced company, either. Glasspoint has built glass houses for Berry Petroleum and has worked to make similar solar powered generators for steam with Petroleum Development Oman that involved a $600 million contract, in the Middle East where natural gases aren’t quite as evenly distributed. It has also made the top 100 list by Global Cleantech that features up and coming, innovative and promising companies in solar power.

Is this sort of partnership set to be a new global trend? Perhaps. A total of five other similar plants have been built around the planet using similar technology, though with some differences, of which three have had GlassPoint’s involvement. Meanwhile, in Norway, Statoil – one of the biggest oil corporations in the country – is working on a similar project in Brazil, and oil giant Shell is working on exploring the possibilities for one in Australia. Statoil has also been making strides in wind energy.

Many environmental groups feel that this project is step in the right direction, though some enthusiasts may feel more ambiguous about its goals. GlassPoint’s Senior Vice President, Sanjeev Jumar, stated during the project’s press release that his company’s partnership with Aera Energy indicates how energy is working hand-in-hand globally, demonstrating how both renewable and non-renewable energy companies can converge. Aera Energy is estimated to wind up spending around $250 million on the mutually beneficial project, and it’s estimated that the Belridge Solar project will begin functioning by the year 2020, when it will start to produce the highest energy output of any power plant of its kind in California.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Top Apps and Software to Help You Be More Energy Efficient


The average US household uses 897 kWh per month or 10,766 kWh per year. Compare that to the global average of 3,500 kWh and you’ll see that the US is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world. We need energy to power our everyday lives, but unless we commit to reducing our energy consumption, the world’s natural resources will become further depleted.

Industry experts predict that oil supplies will run out within 40 years. Right now, renewable energy only accounts for 15% of electricity in the US and 2.7% of electricity in the UK. Renewable energy is growing and governments are slowly waking up to the realization they must invest more money in renewables, but in the meantime, there is plenty we can do to conserve energy.

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Technology is our friend on the journey towards energy efficiency. There are numerous apps that make life easier. Trading apps help us navigate the financial markets and social media apps let us keep up with friends on the go. Here is a list of energy saving apps to boost your family’s energy efficiency, so you can do your bit to save the environment.

Smart Homes

Smart Home energy management devices are the latest must-have tech products for families who want to save time and money. Smart thermostats let you adjust your home’s temperature without lifting a finger and if you invest in a Nest Learning Thermostat, you can save energy when you are away from home. Check out the EnergyHub Thermostat and Ecobee Smart Thermostat. Apps for all three are available in the Google Play and iTunes store.

Setting up a smart home energy management system could save you up to 60% on your energy bill.

Energy Cost Calculator

The Energy Cost Calculator is available for download from the Apple Store. This nifty little app tells you exactly how much it costs to leave your TV on standby all night or how much energy you are wasting by not switching off the landing light. Use the app to calculate water and fuel costs and scare the kids into switching things off when they leave a room.

Energy Tracker

The Energy Tracker app is available for Apple devices. It records how much energy you consume and provides colourful graphs to help you digest this information more easily. All you have to do is upload your meter readings and the app does the rest. The app also tells you how much you could save if you cut your energy consumption.

Joulebug

The Joulebug app turns energy saving into a fun game for the whole family. Download the app from the Google Play store or Apple iTunes and share it with your family. The app gives you tips to save energy and if you make savings, you can earn trophies to reward your hard work.

iRecycle

Dumping household trash in a landfill is bad for the environment, yet many of us routinely do it to save time. The iRecycle app for Apple and Android tells you exactly where your local recycling facility is, so you can get rid of your unwanted items in a more energy efficient manner.

Alert Me

The Alert Me energy saving app lets you compare your energy consumption with that of your neighbors. Discover how much you can save compared to other households. It might just shame you into turning lights off or switching off PCs at the wall.

Energy Monitor Pro

Similar to smart homes devices, this innovative app allows you to monitor and control your energy use from your mobile device, meaning you can ultimately cut down on energy bill costs with greater ease. It also helps electricity providers to increase their overall efficiency.

Kill-Ur-Watts

This is another great app for enabling you to take control of your energy usage. Kill-Ur-Watts tracks the amount of energy you are burning up and formulates strategies to help you reduce this, ultimately saving you a lot of the legwork. It is also completely free, which is undoubtedly an attractive bonus.

Green Outlet

Exceeding in innovation and ease of use, Green Outlet helps users to calculate which appliances in their house are using up the most energy. They can monitor their use far easier, and either replace to most inefficient appliances or use them much less.

Light Bulb Finder

Another great free app to explore is Light Bulb Finder, which gathers information about the bulbs you require in your home. Once this is complete, the app will then find out which stores near you stock the most energy efficient light bulb options for your home, and will give you a recommendation for the best bulbs to use based on cost effectiveness and environmental impact.

FuelGood

The FuelGood app lets you gauge your fuel efficiency when driving, meaning that you can save up to 1/6 of your fuel expenditure per year. It does this through using GPS technology to track your journeys and offering driving tips to help encourage efficient driving.

Water Use Calculator

For those curious about how much energy they are frittering away through leaving taps on too long, this app is ideal. It lets you monitor exactly how energy you are using every time you use something which dispenses water in the home (including dishwashers and showers). It also provides tips on how to reduce water consumption.

Eco Charger

For those who leave their phone on charge for far too long, this is the ideal app. Eco Charger causes any mobile device on which it is installed to vibrate obnoxiously until it is unplugged, allowing users to save the energy they would otherwise waste ‘charging’ a fully charged phone.

My Earth

This is more of a general app which allows you to track a number of different areas of energy usage, including electricity, food and travel, amongst others. It also gives you activities to check off, and serves as an effective visualiser for overall energy consumption.

These are just some of the many apps which can help you to become more energy efficient. With technology constantly progressing at such an unprecedented rate, there are bound to be more innovations in the field of energy efficiency apps, which will further help you to control your energy use with ease.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

Types, Importance and Examples of Ecology?


Ecology is a branch of biology concerned with understanding how organisms relate with each other and their environment. This branch of biology mainly deals with the relationships between the organisms, their relationships among each other, their relationships towards the shared resources, their relationships with the space they share, and even their relationships with the non-living aspects in the environment.

In understanding the given relationship, ecology encompasses aspects such as population growth, competition, symbiotic ecologic relationships (mutualism), trophic relations (energy transfer from one section of the food chain to the next), biodiversity, migration and physical environment interactions. Because ecology includes all the living organisms on earth and their physical as well as chemical surroundings, it is divided into several categories which bring about different types of ecology as discussed below:

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Types of Ecology

1. Microbial Ecology

Microbial ecology looks at the smallest fundamental levels of life, that is, the cellular level. It involves mainly the first two life kingdoms which are; Kingdom Monera and Kingdom Protista. Here, the connections are made between microbes and their relationships with each other and their environments.

Microbial ecology is particularly important in the analysis of evolutionary connections and events leading to existence (known as phylogeny). These connections help us understand the relationships shared among organisms. It is particularly interested in DNA and RNA structures as they carry most of the information passed along from organisms to their progeny, providing the data ecologists need.

2. Organism/Behavioural Ecology

This is the study of the organism at its fundamental levels and can encompass microbial ecology. In this type of ecology, the main goal is to understand the organism’s behaviours, adaptations for such behaviours, reason for those behaviours as explained through the lens of evolution, and the way all these aspects mesh together.

In this case, the main concern is the individual organism and all its different nuances, especially in trying to understand how it all ties together to enhance the survival of the organism or any beneficial adaptations.

3. Population Ecology

Population ecology is the next rank on the ecological ladder. Population ecology focuses on the population, defined as a group of organisms of the same species living in the same area at the same time. Here, attention is given to things such as population size, its density, the structure of the population, migration patterns, and the interaction between organisms of the same population.

It tries to explain the different changes in each of the dynamics of the population such as why numbers would increase and whether this affects any other aspects of the population such as its density.

4. Community Ecology

Community ecology takes a look at the community, defined as all the populations that live in a given area. This includes all the different species populations. The focus here is usually on the interactions between the different species and how their numbers and sizes all mesh together and how change in one population change the dynamic of the whole community.

The animal populations here are exposed to more complex interactions given their increased species numbers which give rise to dynamics such as trophic relationships (who eats who), space dynamics, migration patterns and the most important ecological driving force when it comes to inter/intra species interaction.

5. Ecosystem Ecology

Ecosystem ecology makes a unique contribution to understanding ecology by adding abiotic (non-living) factors to the items analysed, alongside the biotic (living) factors involved. This interaction therefore involves all aspects of the environment and how they interact.

It includes understanding how things like climate and soil composition affect the behaviours and interactions of populations from different species. It also includes a wide range of factors to better understand the whole aspect of interaction between the living things and their environments/habitats.

6. Global Ecology (Biosphere)

The global ecology is principally important in understanding all the ecosystems affecting the entire globe. This includes all the different biomes, with considerations of aspects such as climate and other environmental geography.

It means, global ecology takes into account the whole world’s biosphere while considering all living organisms from the microscopic to higher lifeforms, the environments they leave in, the interactions that they have with each other, the influences that their environments have on these interactions and vice versa, and finally, how they are all interconnected under the common ground that they all share a single planet – the Earth.

Importance of Ecology

The study of ecology is important in ensuring people understand the impact of their actions on the life of the planet as well as on each other. Here are the reasons why ecology is important:

1. It helps in environmental conservation

Ecology allows us to understand the effects our actions have on our environment. With this information, it helps guide conservation efforts by first showing the primary means by which the problems we experience within our environment begin and by following this identification process, it shows us where our efforts would have the biggest effect.

Ecology also shows individuals the extent of the damage we cause to the environment and provides predictive models on how bad the damage can get. These indicators instil a sense of urgency among the population, pushing people to actively take part in conservation efforts and ensure the longevity of the planet.

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2. Ensures proper resource allocation

Ecology equally allows us to see the purpose of each organism in the web of connectivity that makes up the ecosystem. With this knowledge, we are able to ascertain which resources are essential for the survival of the different organisms. This is very fundamental when it comes to assessing the needs of human beings who have the biggest effect on the ecosystem.

An example is human dependency on fossil fuels that has led to the increase of carbon footprint in the ecosystem. It is ecology that allows humans to see these problems which then calls for the need to make informed decisions on how to adjust our resource demands to ensure that we do not burden the environment with demands that are unsustainable.

3. Enhances energy conservation

Energy conservation and ecology is connected in that, it aids in understanding the demands different energy sources have on the environment. Consequently, it is good for decision making in terms of deciding resources for use as well as how to efficiently convert them into energy.

Without proper understanding of energy facts through ecology, humans can be wasteful in their use of allotted resources such as indiscriminate burning of fuels or the excessive cutting down of trees. Staying informed about the ecological costs allows people to be more frugal with their energy demands and adopt practices that promote conservation such as switching of lights during the day and investing in renewable energy.

4. Promotes eco-friendliness

With all the information and research obtained from ecology, it ultimately promotes eco-friendliness. It makes people aware of their environment and encourages the adoption of a lifestyle that protects the ecology of life owing to the understanding they have about it.

This means that in the long-term, people tend to live less selfishly and make strides towards protecting the interest of all living things with the realization that survival and quality life depends on environment sustainability. Hence, it fosters a harmonious lifestyle and assures longevity for all organisms.

5. Aids in disease and pest control

A great number of diseases are spread by vectors. The study of ecology offers the world novel ways of understanding how pests and vectors behave thereby equipping humans with knowledge and techniques on how to manage pests and diseases.

For example, malaria which is one of the leading killer diseases is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito. In a bid to control malaria, humans must first understand how the insect interacts with its environment in terms of competition, sex, and breeding preferences. The same applies to other diseases and pests. By understanding the life cycles and preferred methods of propagation of different organisms in the ecosystem, it has created impressive ways to device controls measures.

Examples of Ecology

Examples of ecology are simply aspects that seek to study how the various types of ecology come about. For instance, the study of humans and their relationship with the environment gives us human ecology. Alternatively, studying a food chain in a wetland area gives wetland ecology while the study of how termites or other small organisms interact with their habitat brings about niche construction ecology. Here are two basic examples to elaborate examples of ecology in details.

1. Human ecology

This aspect of ecology looks at the relationship between humans and the ecosystem as a whole. It is centred on human beings, studying their behaviour and hypothesises the evolutionary reasons why we might have taken up some traits.

Emphasis is placed on this due to the impact human beings have on the environment and it also gives us knowledge about the shortcomings of the entire human population and how to better ourselves for our own sake and that of the environment.

2. Niche construction

Niche construction is an example of ecology dealing with the study of how organisms are able to alter their environment for their benefit and also for the benefit of other living things. It is of particular interest to ecologists who desire to understand how some organisms overcome the challenges presented to them.

A prime example is how termites are well organized and equipped to erect mound that stand over 6 feet tall while at the same time protecting and feeding their entire population. In going about their niche, ants also recycle nutrients for plants. This presents a good example of ecology because it is all about evolution and other several aspects regarding population, community and ecosystem ecology.

Image credit: pixabay , pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

11 Greenest Countries on Earth in 2017


The world is making advancements towards becoming green especially for environmentally conscious nations as they work hard to develop their economies. Industries have been set up, people have ventured into real estate, and governments are constantly making great milestones in the health, education, energy and transportation sectors. These developments have allowed countries to provide a better economy and life to its citizens.

However, this does not come without consequences to the environment. Global warming and environmental degradation is one of the impacts faced. The environment is thus at a risk, particularly with the increase in the number of production industries, expansion of modern transport and residential developments. Despite these environmental risks that come with development, there are countries that have worked hard to reduce them and keep their environment green. Here are 11 countries that have been termed as the greenest in 2017:

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1. Iceland

Iceland is one of the countries that takes its environment very seriously and invests in its sustainability. It has been graded as one of the greenest countries in world. Besides, it has been in the fore front in the implementation of programs that are eco-friendly. It boasts of an Environmental Performance index of 93.5.

It has placed focus on production of electricity and heat by utilizing geothermal landscapes. Iceland has also played a major role in the fight against ocean pollution. It has made sure that the waters are kept clean and fishing is done while prioritizing on protecting the environment.

2. Switzerland

Switzerland is the second most greenest country in the world in 2017 with an Environmental Protection index of 89.1. It has put into place various measures to ensure that the environment is kept clean and at the same time sustainable. The setting up of Alpine park is one of the steps it took. Additionally, the country has focused on production of resources by using renewable energy, a move that promotes a green economy.

Switzerland has over the years made laws that have allowed farmlands to develop and prevent them from being used for infrastructural expansion. These contributions by the country has allowed it to be green as the natural environment has been kept safe. Clean air, beautiful lakes and mountains have been notable features that make it prominent.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is popularly known for its amazing scenery and equally intriguing landscape. The green in its environment is clearly evident at first glance. It boasts an Environmental Protection Index of 86.4. The country has put stern measures to avoid both air and water pollution and hoping to achieve a carbon neutral environment by the year 2021.

The citizens of the country use renewable energy in order to avoid the production of greenhouse gases. Costa Rica hopes to be the first carbon neutral country in the world and is constantly seeking for funding to make this possible. Other than being one of the greenest countries in the world, Costa Rica is also considered to be one with the happiest people in it.

4. Sweden

Sweden is listed among the greenest countries in the world with an Environmental Protection Index of 86.0. The country plans on eradicating the use of fossil fuel by the year 2020. The move is meant to prevent environmental pollution. What’s more, they have embraced the use of renewable energy that is eco-friendly to keep the environment natural and safe from pollution.

The use of renewable energy greatly contributes to the reduction of carbon in the air thus a cleaner and safer environment. The most notable action is the partnership between Sweden and its neighboring countries, especially by taking responsibility to protect the Baltic Sea and protect the ecosystem. The environmental governance body in Sweden is amongst the most sound and this has contributed to the fact that Sweden has been kept green.

5. Norway

Norway is one of the counties in Europe that has a significantly green environment. It has an Environmental Protection Index of 81.1. The country has made sure that its residential and commercial facilities do not release any greenhouse gases to the environment. Like other countries, Norway has made sure that the whole country uses eco-friendly and renewable sources of energy so as to reduce the rate of pollution and carbon production.

Norway has put in place sustainable development strategies and environmental laws that are supposed to aid in realization of a carbon neutral country by the year 2030. Most interestingly, Norway cultivates a relationship with nature. Children from a tender age are taught on how to live together with nature and protect the environment. In addition, Norway uses ecological knowledge to keep its environment clean and safe.

6. Mauritius

Mauritius, a small island country in Africa, has played a major role in keeping its environment green. It has an Environmental Performance Index of 80.6. Mauritius being an island, has worked tirelessly to protect its ports. It has set up laws and protection acts that reduce the rate of pollution whilst promoting environmental protection.

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7. France

The contribution of Nicholas Sarkozy played a major role in making France one of the greenest countries in the world. He implemented legislations that made it mandatory for all of France to partake in making the country eco-friendly and to conserve energy. France has an Environmental Protection Index of 78.2. France has been endowed with very fertile grounds and is one of the top exporters of food. It is also makes wine thanks to the grape fields it has.

The country has less industries as compared to other countries and this has helped in the reduction of air pollution. Over the years, France has been working on deindustrialization – a move that has seen the environmental state of the country improve as water pollution has been reduced significantly. Additionally, France has vowed to change its resource usage and methods of production to conserve the environment.

8. Austria

Austria has an Environmental performance Index of 78.1. It achieves this Index by relentlessly striving to maintain the natural conditions of its environment. Among the major actions taken by Austria is putting environmental protection in its social and economic policy agenda.

Austria has also worked hard in sectors such as waste management and chemical as well as air pollution to prevent such pollutants from destroying the environment. Further, Austria has incorporated ecological knowledge in their agriculture to prevent pollution. This has been highlighted by the restriction on the use of pesticides. It has also put measures into place to protect its forest and reduce deforestation. All these have contributed to making it one of the greenest countries in the world.

9. Cuba

Cuba is not left behind among the countries ranked as the greenest in the world. This is evidenced considering its Environmental Protection Index of 78.1. Cuba has worked hard in keeping its environment green and safe by reducing the use of Pesticides on farmland since they are chemicals that negatively impact the environment.

The sea level has also been lowered to protect the soil from excessive salt that might destroy it. Environmental awareness is also taught in schools so that children can embrace it and practice it to sustain the environment.

10. Colombia

Colombia is a beautiful country that has been blessed with amazing sceneries and vegetation. Particularly, Colombia is endowed with the amazon forest, tropical rainforests and deserts. It also has thousands of species living in its ecosystem. Policies and regulations have equally been set up to protect the environment and preserve its biodiversity.

Despite the fact that they were initially accused of degrading their natural environment, they have worked tirelessly to regain the lost glory by making laws that favor the sustainability of the environment. It has an Environmental Performance Index of 76.8 and is ranked among the greenest countries in the world.

11. Finland

Finland finishes the top 11 list among the greenest countries in the world for the year 2017. In the 80’s, Finland was known for high scores of nitrogen emission and other activities that destroyed the environment. However, over the years, improvements have been noted as the country strives to restore its environment to its original state.

The body in charge of the environment in Finland has worked hard to make sure greenhouse gases are not produced and that the citizens in the country use renewable sources of energy for production. Wind power has greatly been made use of. According to Yale University’s annual Environmental Performance Index, Finland has planned to have more than half of its electricity coming from renewable sources of energy.

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)

11 Best and Popular US Carbon Offset Providers


Carbon offsets are schemes or initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas or carbon dioxide emissions by compensating for or neutralizing the emissions made. In other words, it pertains to investment in environmental projects with the sole objective of balancing carbon footprints. It’s a practice that has increasingly gained popularity globally with more and more carbon offset providers joining the initiative.

The carbon offset providers primarily work to reduce future emissions by investing in clean energy technologies, planting trees, or buying and compensating for the carbon emitted from emissions trading scheme. Offset providers widely vary in terms of their areas of focus and charges, and their operations are determined by their respective locations. Overall, whether in the UK, US, Australia, or Canada, the central objective is to promote environmental sustainability. Here are the top 11 carbon offset providers in the US.

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1. Sustainable Travel International

The mission of Sustainable Travel International is reducing the impacts of carbon footprint through tourism and travel. In partnership with NGOs, governments, companies and communities, the offset provider works towards sustainable development goals to limit the adverse effects of climate change by selling carbon credits with regards to flying or other travel activities and using the funds to protect the planet’s terrestrial ecosystems.

Its focus is centrally on preventing deforestation, irresponsible development, and over-exploitation. In the various partnership projects, Sustainable Travel International ensures real and measurable results by supporting biodiversity conservation, clean and renewable energy, and planting trees that help in absorbing and storing carbon.

2. Green Mountain Energy

With an overriding commitment to environmental sustainability and reducing the overall environmental impacts, Green Mountain Energy offers high quality standards on carbon offset provision. The high quality standards set by the provider ensures that the carbon offsets are sourced from reputable and verified third party industries.

The main areas of operation include the advancement of forestry projects, waste water treatment, promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, and the capture of methane gas at landfills.

3. Native Energy

Native Energy takes pride as an organization responsible for offering solutions to climate change through the provision of carbon tracking services, carbon offsets, and renewable energy credits. Founded in 2002, it has assisted individuals and businesses in identifying and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and reach their goals on environmental sustainability.

Native Energy has also partnered with Green America in promoting actions towards reducing carbon footprints by funding new solar, wind, water, and conservation projects. Native Energy states that by purchasing carbon offsets from them, it helps to finance new wind turbines, renewable energy at schools, and methane gas capturing on family farms.

4. WGL Energy

WGL Energy is devoted to offering money-saving and reliable carbon offset options for individuals, businesses and organizations across the US as well as the sate. Founded in 1996 and located in Vienna, Virginia, the offset provider was previously known as Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc.

It currently serves based on the knowledge that every penny counts and when it comes to the commitment to supporting sustainable practices, WGL Energy ensures value is placed on promoting carbon reduction, renewable energy and energy efficient solutions.

On customer’s behalf, WGL Energy invests the carbon offsets to reduce carbon footprint on projects such as tree planting, water conservation and management, and the development of future clean air.

5. Cool Effect

Cool Effect supports the reduction of carbon emission by funding carbon-reducing projects across the globe. The offset provider operates on a crowdfunding platform and it’s on this basis that it generates the funds it uses to advance carbon-reducing projects. Cool Effect main headquarters is in Kentfield, California and its success is associated with the high number of projects it has funded globally in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Just like many other carbon offset companies in the US, Cool Effect’s main objective is to fight climate change by finding impressive projects around the world that have a proven track record of reducing carbon emissions.

6. ClearSky Climate Solutions

The focus of Clearsky is searching for opportunities to manage climate change problems by designing and supporting market-based forest carbon. For the most part, Clearsky’s priority on conserving forest resource in the long-term gives it the credibility of being among the best US carbon offset providers.

Through carbon footprint assessment and comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction services, Clearsky Climate Solution easily provides individuals, groups, companies and organizations with clear guidelines on how to reduce and balance emissions with high-quality carbon offsets.

It also provides customized technical assistance to those who seek to offset their carbon footprint through periodic workshops, seminars, and training programs throughout the year.

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7. Sterling Planet

Sterling Planet is one of the leading providers of retail renewable energy. With several years of experience, Sterling Planet has been accredited as a carbon offset provider in the US on the basis of developing green power projects and supporting hundreds of clean energy generators.

For this reason, EPA has more than once recognized Sterling Planet as an award winning green power supplier of the year. Specific to carbon offset initiative, it counter balances carbon use for the American community by supporting projects with an objective of capturing greenhouse gas emissions caused by energy use and personal transportation.

Sterling Planet assures buyers that their offsets are of high-quality, real, additional – more than “business as usual,” and permanent.

8. 3 Degrees

3 Degrees partners with various environmental conscious organizations and connects with millions of people to help make positive environmental impact. 3 Degrees is also well equipped in the delivery of renewable energy products and climate change consultancy.  It has helped universities, small businesses, government agencies, and even Fortune 500 companies in offsetting their carbon footprint.

Aside from connecting thousands of people with clean energy, it has about 8.8 million verified carbon offsets delivered. 3 Degrees also sources top-notch, third party verified carbon offsets from emission reduction initiatives. As a matter of fact, it has bought and dedicated more than 3 million tons of carbon offsets.

9. BEF Carbon Mix

BEF Carbon Mix empowers business to be in balance with the environment through the provision of a myriad set of programs, products and tailored solutions that aid in mitigating environmental footprint. The solutions, products, and programs provided by BEF Carbon Mix are matched with various business goals and are meant to reduce the overall impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

Particularly, the programs and solutions are geared towards designing and strengthening renewable energy technology, water conservation and management, forest management, waste heat capture and landfill gas capturing.

10. TerraPass

Terrapass projects run throughout the United States, offering solutions to the major environmental problems and supporting local communities. The main areas of concentration by TerraPass include expanding and supporting farm power, production of clean energy from wind power, and capturing landfill gas.

The offsets options offered by TerraPass are on car and airplane emissions, home energy use, and offsets schemes for business as well as for wedding events. With the headquarters in SanFransico, California, TerraPass utilizes the funds from carbon credit purchases to fund projects such as wind power, landfill gas capture, and improving forest management with the objective of reducing greenhouse gasses.

11. Carbon Solutions Group

Carbon Solutions Group is guided by the slogan “low carbon for a sustainable future.”  The groups’ aim is developing effective strategies for environmental asset management and its primary role is supported by several independent working relationships globally.

In terms of carbon offset provision, it delivers solutions by capturing 100% of landfill methane. Other areas of specialization by the group include greenhouse gas emission monitoring, green building projects, carbon and renewable energy projects, and emissions management and mitigation.

Carbon Solutions Group also has a comprehensive team of experts including financial traders, policy analysts, multi-disciplined engineers and environmental consultants thus the ranking as one of the top carbon offset providers in the US.

Links for these offset providers just to verify if I’m on the right track as some links refused to open due to my IP address, regards!

Image credit: pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)