Portugal is setting a very green example for the globe. Not only have they been able to demonstrate what a country looks like when it runs almost entirely on green energy, they have shown how quickly a transition to renewable energy can be made. Think they might have been influenced by the Do Something Portugal office?
Five years ago, 17% of Portugal's energy came from renewable sources. Now, almost 45% of electricity on the grid is from renewable sources. In that time, the use of wind power has risen seven times over.
Portugal primarily gets its renewable energy from wind and hydropower, and also some from sunlight and ocean waves.
Restructuring energy policy and practice comes with draw backs: energy prices in Portugal have risen 15% in five years. Now, Portuguese families pay twice what Americans do for electricity. However, the price they pay is just a little above the average for the rest of Europe. The political party and leaders who have pushed green initiatives so hard have suffered some loss of popularity, but not enough to be booted out of power.
Portugal had fewer bad habits (coal, coal, coal) to break when they shifted their practices than the US does, and a simpler infrastructure to change. Still, the US generated less than 5% of its power from renewable energy. Despite the President's green push, it is expected that the US will only reach 20% by 2025. By that time, Ireland, Denmark, Britain, Canada, and Brazil will all likely reach twice that percentage.
Portugal aims to be the first country to establish a nation-wide network of charging stations for electric cars by 2011.
By 2020, Portugal will probably get 61% of its electricity and 31% of its total energy (i.e. heat, car fuel) from renewable sources.
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