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2021 – A good year for renewables

More new green energy was produced in 2021 than ever before. From giant offshore wind farms to fields that grow vegetables under solar panels, renewables are a driving force in the transition to a more sustainable world.

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Last year, Hornsea One, the world’s largest offshore wind farm was completed in the North Sea. Located 120 km off the east coast of England, its 174 wind turbines, each 190 metres tall, span an area of more than 400 square kilometres. The farm produces enough electricity to power one million UK homes. But this ambitious project is not finished. Adjacent to Hornsea One, the equally large Hornsea Two will become fully operational this year. Further plans to build Hornsea Three and Four are also underway. With more than 11,000 wind turbines, the United Kingdom is a world leader in wind farms. Wind power produces approximately a fourth of UK electricity. The Republic of Ireland is doing even better: its 300 wind farms satisfy more than a third of its electrical demand.

A rising trend

Last year was a good year for renewables on a global level. More new green energy was produced in 2021 than ever before. The growth of electricity produced by wind turbines, solar panels, and other renewable technologies is predicted to accelerate over the coming years. Green technology is becoming increasingly competitive and cheaper. This is good news because renewables are a great weapon against global warming. Governments are beginning to act and many pledged to invest in green energy at COP 26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which was held in Glasgow last November. It is now clear that renewables are good for economic development. Currently, approximately 12 million people are employed in the green energy business, and according to certain predictions, this number will rise to 100 million by 2050.

New solutions and opportunities

Green technology is also having a positive impact in more unexpected ways. Wind turbines have become tourist attractions. In California, for example, people pay $35 to visit wind farms near Palm Springs. In Rhode Island, tourists board a ferry for a 1-hour tour of an offshore wind farm. Green technology is also integrating more and more with existing circumstances. For example, there are now solar farms that grow crops under solar panels. In this way, the same plot of land can be used to produce both food and electricity. Furthermore, technology is being used not just to produce clean energy, but also to restore natural habitats. The Canadian company Flash Forest, for example, is planting trees using drones. The drones first map out the best areas for planting trees. They then shoot pods that contain seeds into the ground. The method is many times faster and cheaper than normal tree planting techniques. Similar projects are already underway in other parts of the world.

Green alternatives

An exciting aspect of the transition to a green economy is how each one of us can contribute. There are now many apps, such as Wren, that allow you to calculate your carbon footprint and that suggest actions you can take to become more ‘green’ and push for a positive change in the world. There can be an ecological alternative to almost everything we do, from eating to travelling, from shopping to entertainment. Even surfing on the internet can be done ecologically: the search engine Ecosia, for example, uses most of its profits to fund reforestation projects. Every 45 web searches, Ecosia will plant a tree. In sum, a transition to a sustainable, green economy is underway. Yet more needs to be done. Much will depend on public initiatives, such as the creation of giant wind farms, but also on the small choices we all take every day.

1) Would you like to know more about Hornsea One and Two? Here are the official websites:
2) Watch how Hornsea One was constructed here:
3) Watch how Flash Forest is planting trees with drones in Canada:
4) Here is an example of a solar farm that also grows vegetables:
5) Are you interested in calculating your carbon footprint? You can do it using Wren:
6) Would you like to know more about Ecosia? You can do so at this link: 

1) Read the article and complete the sentences with the correct alternative.

1. The world’s largest offshore wind farm is
a. Irish.
b. English.
c. American.

2. Hornsea One’s wind turbines
a. are not yet finished.
b. are 174 metres tall.
c. provide energy for one million UK homes.

3. Renewable energies
a. are becoming less expensive.
b. are not good for economic development.
c. contribute to global warming.

4. The number of jobs in the green energy business
a. will rapidly increase in the coming years.
b. will reach 12 million by mid-century.
c. will double by 2050.

5. Some solar farms
a. care restoring natural habitats.
b. are becoming tourist attractions.
c. can produce both electricity and crops.

6. The members of Flash Forest
a. are using traditional planting techniques.
b. are planting trees using drones.
c. are the first to use drones to plant trees.

7. Ecosia offers a ‘green’ way to
a. plant trees.
b. surf the internet.
c. calculate your carbon footprint.

8. A future green economy depends
a. only on public initiatives.
b. on individual ‘green’ actions.
c. on a combination of public and private initiatives.


2) Watch the video and complete the sentences with the correct alternative.

1) Examples of renewable energies are:
a) hydro, biomass, and natural gas.
b) wind, solar and geothermal.
c) natural gas, coal and nuclear.

2) Over 80% of the total energy consumed by humans comes from
a) renewable sources.
b) coal and natural gas.
c) fossil fuels.

3) Renewable energies
a) produce no greenhouse gases and no air pollution.
b) produce no direct greenhouse gases and almost no air pollution.
c) produce greenhouse gases and air pollution.

4) One of the disadvantages of wind farms is that
a) they work only if the wind is blowing.
b) they use sources of energy that never run out.
c) they work only when the sun is shining.

5) Renewable energies
a) have no disadvantages.
b) generate power on the same large scale as fossil fuels.
c) will become cheaper and more efficient in the future.


3) Complete the sentences with the following words. Put the verbs and nouns in the right form, if necessary.
offshore  *  to span  *  underway  *  to pledge  *  crop  *  to restore  *  pod  *  carbon footprint  *  profit  *  reforestation

1) Grains, fruit and vegetables that are grown and harvested extensively are called …………………......
2) Don’t worry, sharks don’t come close to the coast, they prefer swimming …………………......
3) Legumes such as beans and peas grow inside …………………....., but this word can also be used to describe a human-made protective container.
4) I sold my old car and made a …………………..... of € 1,000.
5) That footballer’s career …………………..... twenty years: he began playing when he was eighteen and at thirty-eight he retired.
6) Construction work on this solar farm is currently ………………….....; it began last year and will finish next year.
7) …………………..... means planting new trees in an area where there was once a forest, which makes it the opposite of deforestation.
8) A …………………..... is a way to measure the amount of greenhouse gases (such as CO2) that somebody or something produces during a given period of time.
9) A …………………..... is a promise, not a definite commitment.
10) This ancient building was ………………….....: it was derelict and now it’s back to its original condition.

GRAMMAR – Comparative and superlative adjectives

4) Complete the sentences using the adjective in brackets with comparatives of majority (+) minority (–) or equality (=), or superlatives (S).

1) Modern wind turbines are …………………..... (tall) skyscrapers. (=)
2) I find that wind turbines are …………………..... (beautiful) old windmills. (+)
3) Climate change is …………………..... (serious) threat to humanity. (S)
4) The government climate pledge is …………………..... (ambitious) (–) expected.
5) Solar power is …………………..... (ecological) wind power. (=)
6) Wind energy is …………………..... (expensive) nuclear energy. (–)
7) This year’s renewable energy production is …………………..... (great) last year’s. (+)
8) …………………..... (good) way to produce energy is using renewable sources. (S)
9) …………………..... (bad) way to produce energy is using coal. (S)
10) Renewables are …………………..... (good) fossil fuels. (+)


5) Calculate your carbon footprint. What did you discover? What are your most environmentally friendly habits? On the other hand, what are the things that you do that most negatively impact the environment? (60-80 words.)

6) Have you ever seen a wind farm in the countryside? Did you think it was ugly and that it ruined the view of the natural landscape? Or did you think that it was beautiful and a symbol of the modern age? Describe your impressions and opinions. (60-80 words.)


7) Pair up with one of your classmates and read the proposition below; one of you will argue in favour of it and one of you against it.

Proposition: Only governments, not individuals, can save the environment.​


(Carlo Dellonte)

(Image credits: Pixabay)

2 Commenti


28 aprile 2022 alle 10:04




03 maggio 2022 alle 17:34 - in risposta a Gian

Grazie per il suo commento! Continui a seguirci! La redazione


Giovanna Maugeri

12 ottobre 2022 alle 15:55

Useful and interesting topic



13 ottobre 2022 alle 11:32 - in risposta a Giovanna Maugeri

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