Sweden is on pace to reach its 2030 target for renewable energy more than a decade ahead of schedule, according to Bloomberg — and wind energy is the driving factor.
For the past several years, windmill installations have soared throughout the country because of government subsidies, Business Day reports.
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Sweden will have 3,681 windmills operating throughout the country by the end of 2018, and enough windmill capacity by 2020 for 12 gigawatts of energy, according to the Swedish Wind Energy Association.
In 2011, the country was only producing around 3 gigawatts of energy, Bloomberg notes.
The US, by comparison, has more than 52,000 windmills, but a population that’s more than 30 times greater than Sweden’s.
The other main source of renewable energy in Sweden is hydropower, which accounts for around half of its electricity production. Nuclear energy accounts for the bulk of the country’s remaining electricity supply, which, while not renewable, doesn’t release greenhouse gas emissions.
If Sweden reaches its renewable energy target ahead of schedule, it may set more ambitious targets and pursue a wholly renewable electricity grid by 2030.
Other countries are reaching their renewable energy targets early, fulfilling the Paris climate agreement’s vision of countries being able to update their goals every few years.
Nordic countries, meanwhile, are transcending fossil fuels altogether. Both Iceland and Denmark can produce all of their electricity through renewables, according to the Independent.
These achievements show that renewable energy can viably replace fossil fuels. If investments continue to increase in clean energy alternatives, then the Paris climate agreement’s goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels may be within reach.