The US was the world’s largest transportation energy consumer in 2012, the most recent year with detailed international transportation data by mode. The country consumed 26 quadrillion British thermal units or 13 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, representing 25% of global transportation energy demand that year. Combined, the US, Europe and China represent more than 50% of world transportation energy consumption. In the US and Europe on-road passenger travel is especially prevalent while in China the emphasis is on freight movement.
Sweden is working towards becoming a fossil-free economy by 2030. The Minister for Strategic Development and Nordic Cooperation Kristina Persson, said the goal can be achieved by breaking the link between economic growth and increased C02 emissions. The European Union member states are obligated to use renewable resources for 20% of their energy consumption by 2020. Eurostat, the region’s statistics office, reports Sweden is one of only three countries to reach that target ahead of schedule.
Most of the UK’s major cities intend to use only non-fossil fuel energy by 2050. Leaders of more than 50 local councils made the pledge last week including the cities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, and Glasgow. The goal would be reached by using renewable energy for transport, ending natural gas heating, and a putting in place a program of mass insulation of homes in cities across the UK.
The Middle East country of Jordan is planning to add 1.6 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity to the national energy mix by 2018. 1 GW will be solar power capacity while 600 megawatts will be wind power capacity. The country’s demand for electricity is projected to grow at an average rate of 6.4% from now until 2020.
The North African country of Morocco has pledged to obtain 42% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020 and will be starting down this road in December when the first stage of a large solar project comes on line. Using melted salt to store the Sun’s energy, the concentrated solar thermal plant at Ouarzazate will initially operate for 3 hours after dark and when all four stages are finished in 2017 provide power 20 hours a day. Once completed the plant will generate 580 MW, enough to provide electricity to a million homes. Currently Morocco imports its electricity from Spain.
Kazakhstan, in Central Asia, plans to commission 106 facilities generating energy from renewable energy sources by late 2020, according to the country’s Energy Ministry. The total capacity of these facilities will be 3 gigawatts. This will include 28 solar power plants with the capacity of 713.5 megawatts. The country’s goal is for renewable electricity to generate 3% of the country’s production by 2020 and 10% by 2030.
Emerging economies attracted record levels of renewable energy investment last year, surpassing investment in wealthier nations for the first time, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. In addition, renewable energy capacity deployed in emerging markets surpassed the amount deployed in the OECD countries. China played a major role in this trend as it added 35 gigawatts of new renewable generating capacity in 2014, which was more than the renewable energy projects built in the US, UK and France combined. Technology cost declines coupled with abundant natural resources have made renewables the lowest-cost energy option in many countries.