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Why are Iceland and Norway the leading EU countries for renewable-energy usage?

The European Union is known to be one of the continents that are trying most to invest in renewable resources and sustainable habits to reduce greenhouse gases and slow down climate change. To reach such a challenging objective, becoming the first carbon-neutral country by 2025, the EU needs to allocate resources wisely among countries and industries.

By diversifying the energy supply, it is possible to reduce the dependency many countries have on fossil fuels, like oil and gas.  

Considering 2020’s EU’ statistics we can hereby see which countries have made the greatest effort and met their targets. Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland are standing out among all other countries. 

Let’s take the case of the two first countries on the podium: Iceland and Norway.

Iceland

​​Island is driven by its hydro and geothermal power, managing to use renewable energy up to 99% of the total electricity consumption. Does it seem impossible? It does, but they have been looking for energy independency for years now as importing fossil fuels is way too expensive for them.

What can we learn from their achievements?

In an Iceland-dedicated article from the United Nations, Halla Hrund Logadóttir (2015) suggests five key takeaways that other countries should take from Iceland renewable energy’s management and production:

  • There should be strong collaboration among municipalities, government, companies and the public audience in the transition to renewable energies;
  • Innovators, experts and the public should be supported by the government in terms of education and funds, as to empower their positive actions
  • There should be a “ favourable legal and regulatory framework “, as to foster and fasten the transition. This comes along with funds, incentives and general support from institutions
  • The public should be aware of the steps made during the transition. Not only, it has to be possible for the public itself to participate in shaping how this transition can be made (to a certain extents.)

By being a significant example of how an economy can still be efficient even if powered by renewable energies, we invite you to have a closer look at what Iceland has done so far! For an in-depth reading take a look at https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/icelands-sustainable-energy-story-model-world or watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7dy0hUZ9xI

 Norway

Mostly, Norway uses hydropower but it has also developed consistent plans for 2040 to enlarge its wind power production, especially in the North Sea areas.

The greatest efficiency in Norway’s energy management is the cohesion and distribution of energy among companies, houses and energy providers. To be clearer:

  • Houses: almost every house has a proper Energy Management System with an integrated smart grid system that allows better tracking and saving of energy
  • Companies: as far as they can, they do opt for renewable energies over fossil fuels. Also here, accurate software to better manage energy management
  • Institutions: incentives and appropriate regulations allow all stakeholders to operate to the best of their possibilities. In 2020, investments reached 37.2 million euros. (Statista, 2022) Once again, we see how important is the relationship between government participation and active and aware citizens. 

What is a curious fact from Norway?

Norway is well-known for being the “green battery” of Europe, but conversely, it also praises huge storages for oil and gas. However, Norway consciously decided not to use fossil fuels internally but export them only. This way the country can keep pursuing green objectives and zero-emissions goals by using renewable energies as the main source for the inside economy.

Once again, never stop learning and watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHEqQsv8AGw or read more at https://www.ntnu.edu/documents/1276062818/1283878281/Norway’s+role+as+a+flexibility+provider+in+a+renewable+Europe.pdf/2f19ac80-856d-0303-db44-65899f4e5ae8?t=1627381815955

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