According to DutchNews.nl, “By 2023, some 16% of the energy used in the Netherlands is due to come from sustainable sources.” With current usage hovering right around 5%, wind power seems to be the renewable energy source of choice.
National Energy Agreement & EU’s Sustainable Energy Targets
With a record 153 wind turbines erected in last year (2,200 total), the Netherlands is a third of the way from reaching its 3,379-megawatt goal agreed upon in its National Energy Agreement. When asked if the Netherlands would reach the EU’s 2023 sustainable energy targets, Gijs van Kuik, head of the Wind Energy Institute at Delft University said in a recent interview with DutchNews, “we will meet the requirements mostly due to offshore wind farms.”
The Netherlands’ Focus on Sector Improvements
According to the Wind Energy Association, the Netherlands’ 2,200 turbines “generate enough power to sustain the equivalent of 2.4 million homes.” By focusing on industry sector improvements, the Dutch keep surpassing their renewable energy goals. With an initial goal to have all of their public transportation trains running on renewable energy by 2018, the Dutch have just announced that they have beaten their goal by a full year. As of January 1st, all the public transportation trains in the Netherlands run on renewable energy sources, mostly wind power.
“The trains alone consume about 1.2 billion kWh of electricity per year, which is roughly the total power consumption of every home in Amsterdam,” according to a recent Futurism article.
The Systemic Clean Energy Revolution
The Dutch’s renewable energy goals seem to have a contagious effect on other countries in the EU. Scotland, for example, reported, “that its wind farms were able to produce 106% of the country’s entire energy needs. With plans to be 100% zero-carbon by 2020, Scotland plans to add tidal power to its growing inventory of renewable sources that include wind power. “We have a great resource… Scotland’s terrible weather,” said Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables – an industry association.
Can the U.S. be Fully Sustainable By 2050?
So where does the U.S. stand in the clean energy revolution? According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), there are more than 48,800 turbines operating in the U.S. The current annual wind capacity (73,992 MW in 2015) is equivalent to 20 million average American homes powered in a year. With wind investments totally $128 billion over the last 10 years and pressures from global communities to set achievable clean energy goals, studies suggest that countries as large as the U.S. could be fully sustainable by 2050.