It’s official: this entire European country is now powered by renewable energy

It will become the eighth country in the world to generate more than 99 percent of its energy from green power sources

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Vatican City
Photograph: Shutterstock

This week has been pretty dismal when it comes to climate news. From the wildfires in Türkiye and Greece to the storms over Switzerland, Italy, France and the hurricane over the Caribbean, it’s clear that the climate emergency is impacting our weather. 

But it’s not all fiery doom and windy gloom – there’s been some positive news about the climate this week, too. That’s because Vatican City is soon set to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, with Pope Francis announcing plans to build a solar plant. 

It will be located just outside of Rome on a 424-hectare site owned by the Vatican, and will add capacity to existing solar panel installations within the Italian capital. When the works are completed, the Vatican will become the smallest country (by land mass) to be entirely energy-independent.

Vatican will join seven other countries around the world that generate at least 99.7 percent of their energy from renewable sources of power. They are: 

  • Albania
  • Bhutan
  • Nepal
  • Paraguay
  • Iceland
  • Ethiopia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

What’s more, 40 countries generated at least 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources between 2021 and 2022, and 11 of these are in Europe. Germany is capable of running off 100 percent of its renewable sources for short periods of time, and the UK’s proportion of green-generated electricity jumped by 10.5 percent between 2021 and 2022. 

In Scotland, renewable tech generated the equivalent of 113 percent of the country’s electricity consumption in 2022, and while most of this was wind power, a switch to solar power over the coming decades has been predicted by experts. In fact, scientists at the University of Exeter and University College London believe solar power will become the world’s main source of energy by 2050. 

‘Due to technological trajectories set in motion by past policy, a global irreversible solar tipping point may have passed where solar energy gradually comes to dominate global electricity markets, without any further climate policies,’ said researchers who published a study in Nature Communications, according to the Independent, ‘Solar energy is the most widely available energy resource on Earth, and its economic attractiveness is improving fast in a cycle of increasing investments.’

So there you have it – while there’s still a long way to go, not all climate news is bad news. Stay tuned for more updates. 

Did you see that this country officially has the cleanest coastal water in Europe?

Plus: This city has been named Europe’s leading sustainable tourism destination

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