Sustainable countries

Many countries now consider how sustainable their plans are. There are targets and goals set by national governments and internationally. For example, all member states of the European Union have a target of producing 20 per cent of their energy from renewable fuel by 2020.

Sustainable planning in a country - Iceland

Iceland has the highest percentage of renewable energy contributing to its total energy mix of any country in the world.

Renewable energy in Iceland

A geothermal power plant in Iceland

Renewable sources provide 100 per cent of Iceland's electricity and heat. 80 per cent of electricity is generated from hydropower and 20 per cent comes from geothermal power. Water heated geothermally is also used in the majority of Iceland's homes.

Iceland has large supplies of electricity available, so the price is less than in other European countries. Industries, such as aluminium production, set up in Iceland because of the cheap electricity. Iceland is also considering exporting electricity to the rest of Europe through sub-marine cables.

Non-renewable energy in Iceland

Iceland uses non-renewable fossil fuels for cars, other transport and some industrial uses. The level of private car use is high, and there are a number of heavy industries that demand fuels from non-renewable sources. This means that the amount of carbon dioxide produced per person is high.

Sustainable planning in a country - Germany

Three wind turbines

Germany has invested in wind and solar energy and now has four of the 10 largest solar parks in the world. A large global economy, this central-European country is a big consumer of energy but doesn’t have large reserves of fossil fuels, apart from coal.

Around 17 per cent of electricity in Germany comes from renewable sources and 23 per cent of electricity comes from nuclear power.

In 2011, the German government announced it was going to end the production of nuclear power by 2022 and so the country is now looking to build more off-shore wind farms. Germany also has several villages which derive their energy from biofuel. The first bio village was Jühnde.