- Renewable energy in the European Union
The countries of the
European Unionare currently the global leaders in the development and application of renewable energy. Promoting the use of renewable energy sources is important both to the reduction of the EU's dependence on foreign energy imports, and in meeting targets to combat global warming. Germanyand the United Kingdom are currently the only members of the EU that are on track to achieve the objectives set by the Kyoto Protocolon climate change.
General European Union Energy policy
Maastricht Treatyset an objective of promoting stable growth while protecting the environment. The Amsterdam Treatyadded the principle of sustainable development to the objectives of the EU. Since 1997, the EU has been working towards a renewable energy supply equivalent to 12% of the total EU's energy consumption by 2010.
The Johannesburg Summit failed to introduce the radical changes targeted for ten years after the
Rio Summit. No specific goals were set for the energy sector, which disappointed many countries. While the EU had proposed an annual increase in the use of renewable energy at a rate of 1.5% worldwide until 2010, Johannesburg's action plan did not recommend such a "substantial" increase, with no concrete goals nor dates being set.
The EU was unwilling to accept this result, and with other nations formed a group of "pioneer countries" that promised to establish ambitious national or even regional goals to achieve global targets. The Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition (JREC) has a total of more than 80 member countries; the EU members, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand amongst them.
In the European Conference for Renewable Energy in Berlin in 2004, the EU defined ambitious goals of its own. The conclusion was that by 2020, the EU would seek to obtain 20% of its total energy consumption requirements with renewable energy sources. Up until that point, the EU had only set targets up to 2010, and this proposal was the first to represent the EU's commitment up to 2020.
EU leaders reached agreement in principle in March 2007 that 20 percent of the bloc's energy should be produced from renewable fuels and by 2020 as part of its drive to cut emissions of
carbon dioxide. Renewables now account for less than 7 percent of the EU energy mix. In a special report, the European Parliament said that to give the legislation teeth, it should contain binding renewable energy targets for particular sectors -- electricity, heatingand transport-- rather than just a general goal. The parliament said it would resist any attempt to treat nuclear energy as a substitute for renewables. [ [http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/44517/story.htm News] and [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P6-TA-2007-0406&language=EN&ring=A6-2007-0287 Official EP resolution of 25 September 2007 on the Road Map for Renewable Energy in Europe] ]
In September 2008, leaked documents from the council of the European Union reveals "member states want the aviation sector to be excluded from... the overall target." Luxembourg MEP
Claude Turmescriticised the UK's approach:cite news | first=John | last=Vidal | coauthors= | title=UK accused of 'sabotaging' Europe's green energy plans | date=September 26 2008 | publisher= | url =http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/26/biofuels.climatechange | work = The Guardian| pages = | accessdate = 2008-09-28 | language = ]
At the end of 2007 renewable energy in Germany provided 14% of Germany's electricity production, with the largest contribution being made by wind power.
In 2001, the Portuguese government launched a new
energy policyinstrument – the E4 Programme (Energy Efficiency and Endogenous Energies), consisting of a set of multiple, diversified measures aimed at promoting a consistent, integrated approach to energy supply and demand. By promoting energy efficiency and the use of endogenous (renewable) energy sources, the programme seeks to upgrade the competitiveness of the Portuguese economy and to modernize the country’s social fabric, while simultaneously preserving the environment by reducing gas emissions, especially the CO2 responsible for climatic change. [ [http://www.iea-pvps.org/ar02/prt.htm Portugal, PV technology status and prospects - Contribution to the Annual report 2002 ] ]
Spain as a whole has the target of generating 30% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2010, with half of that amount coming from wind power. In 2006, 20% of the total electricity demand was already produced with renewable energy sources.
Some regions of Spain lead Europe in the use of
renewable energytechnology and plan to reach 100% renewable energy generation in few years. Castilla y Leónand Galicia, in particular, are near this goal. In 2006 they fulfilled about 70% of their total electricity demand from renewable energy sources.
nuclear poweris also considered CO2 free, two autonomous communities in Spain have already managed to fulfill their total 2006 electricity demand "free" of CO2 emissions: Extremaduraand Castilla-La Mancha[http://www.ree.es/cap07/pdf/infosis/Inf_Sis_Elec_REE_2006.pdf] Red Eléctrica de España Annual Report 2006] . In 2005 Spainbecame the first country in the world to require the installation of photovoltaicelectricity generation in new buildings, and the second in the world (after Israel) to require the installation of solar hot watersystems [ [http://www.ren21.net/globalstatusreport/download/RE_GSR_2006_Update.pdf Layout 1 ] ] .
By 2004 4.65% of the UK's primary energy requirements were being generated from renewable energy sources (including hydroelectricity), up from 2.55% in 1990. The UK Government energy policy expects that the total contribution from renewables should rise to 10% by 2010.
The prospects for
renewable energy in Scotlandin particular are significant. Scotlandhas an estimated potential of 36.5 GW of installed capacity from wind and 7.5 GW from tidal power, 25% of the estimated total capacity for the European Union for both, and up to 14 GW of wave power potential, 10% of EU capacity. [RSPB Scotland, WWF Scotland and FOE Scotland (February 2006) "The Power of Scotland: Cutting Carbon with Scotland's Renewable Energy". RSPB et al.] ["A Scottish Energy Review" (November 2005) Scottish National Party Framework Paper. Edinburgh.] The Scottish Executivehas a target of generating 17% to 18% of Scotland's electricity from renewables by 2010, [ [http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1050/0002275.pdf Scotland Gov. News] Dec] rising to 40% by 2020. [ [http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2003/03/3412 Scotland Gov. News ] 2003]
By Renewable Energy Sectors
The implementation of
wind poweris especially widespread in Germany, Spainand Denmark. The results of the investigation carried out by " EUWINet" (a project financed partly by the European Commission) indicated that the annual median growth of the European wind power market is 35%, and that EU Members contribute around 75% of the world's wind power. Thanks to the growth that has resulted from the use and development of this energy source, the wind power market has helped to generate more than 25,000 jobs within the EU.
energy policy of the United Kingdomcalls for appreciable expansion of wind energy by the year 2010.
Photovoltaic solar power
The need for the strategic development of
photovoltaicsystems in the EU has led to the creation of PV-NET, a network that gathers representatives from all the sectors of the research and development community concerned with the photovoltaic solar energy industry (see solar cell). The network promotes communication between speakers through the organisation of specialised conferences, workshops and congresses.
This interaction has led to the editing of a waybill, finished in 2003 with the aim of providing a solid basis for EU leaders and European citizens to base their decisions and policy making and in order to help reach the objective set by the European Commission to multiply the use of photovoltaic systems by thirty times by 2010.
In 2002, the world production of photovoltaic modules surpassed 550 MW, of which more than the 50% was produced in the EU. At the end of 2004, 79% of all European capacity was in Germany, where 794 MWp had been installed. The
European Commissionanticipates that Germany may have installed around 4,500 MWp by 2010. [http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/sectors/photovoltaic_en.htm] . Portugalhas the largest solar power station in the world [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5056012.stm] , which was completed in January 2007. The complex, called Serpa solar power plant, covers an area of 60-hectare. The 11-megawatt solar power plant will produce enough electricity for 8,000 homes and save more than 30,000 tons a year in greenhouse gas emissions. Near from there, Moura photovoltaic power stationis under construction, which will be even bigger with an installed capacity of 62MWp. The first phase of construction should be finished in 2008, while the project completion is scheduled for 2010.
Solar heating is the usage of solar energy to provide space or
water heating. Worldwide the use was 88 GWthermal (2005). Growth potential is enormous. At present the EU is second after Chinain the installations. If all EU countries used solar thermal as enthusiastically as the Austrians, the EU’s installed capacity would already be 91 GWth (130 million m2 today, far beyond the target of 100 million m2 by 2010, set by the White Paperin 1997. In 2005 solar heating in the EU was equivalent to more than 686.000 tons of oil. ESTIF’s minimum target is to produce solar heating equivalent to 5.600.000 tons of oil (2020). A more ambitious, but feasible, target is 73 millions tons of oil per year (2020) – a lorry row spanning 1,5 times around the globe!. [ [http://www.estif.org/fileadmin/downloads/STAP/Solar_Thermal_Action_Plan_2007_A4.pdf Solar Thermal Action Plan for Europe ESTIF, 1/2007] ]
The world's first commercial wave farm is located at the "Aguçadora Wave Park" near
Póvoa de Varzimin Portugal. The farm which uses three Pelamis P-750 machines was officially opened in 2008 [http://www.portugal.gov.pt/portal/pt/comunicacao/agenda/20080923.htm] by the Portuguese minister for the economy. A second phase of the project is now planned to increase the installed capacity from 2.25MW to 21MW using a further 25 machines [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aSsaOB9qbiKE&refer=australia] .
Funding for a wave farm in
Scotlandusing four Pelamis machines was announced on February 20, 2007 by the Scottish Executive. The funding of just over £4 million is part of a £13 million funding package for marine power in Scotland. The farm, is to be located at the European Marine Test Centre ( EMEC) off the coast of Orkney and will have an installed capacity of 3MW. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/6377423.stm BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Orkney to get 'biggest' wave farm ] ] .
The European Commission is currently sponsoring a practical programme of vehicle trials for battery powered vehicles. The most ambitious projects are the €1 million CUTE ("
Clean Urban Transport for Europe") scheme and the ECTOS (" Ecological City Transport System").
The tests are taking place in the cities of
Amsterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Porto, Reykjavík, Stockholmand Stuttgart. It consists of putting into service public buses, called Citaro, manufactured by DaimlerChrysler.
List of renewable energy topics by country
Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
Economy of the European Union
Energy policy of the European Union
Environment in the European Union
Eugene Green Energy Standard
European Renewable Energy Council
Intelligent Energy Europe
Renewable energy commercialization
Renewable energy development
Transport in the European Union
Wind power in the European Union
* [http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/index_en.htm Renewable energy] (
* [http://www.managenergy.net ManagEnergy] , for
energy efficiencyand renewable energies at the local and regional level.
* [http://www.insula.org/berlinconference.htm New European Renewables Target: "20% by 2020"]
* [http://www.reegle.info Reegle: Information Gateway For Renewable Energy And Energy Efficiency]
* [http://www.erec-renewables.org/documents/Berlin_2004/conclusions/Berlin_Conclusions_final.pdf Berlin Summit conclusions]
* [http://www.unregisterednews.com/content/view/78/51/ EU Renewable Energy Target Analysis]
* [http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/index_en.htm European Commission: New and Renewable Energies]
* [http://eeru.open.ac.uk/natta/renewonline/rol60/10.htm 34% from renewables in the EU by 2020?]
* [http://www.carbonfree.co.uk/cf/news/wk19-07-0004.htm Wind Power Seen As Key Part Of Europe’s 20% Renewable Energy Target]
* [http://www.erec.org European Renewable Energy Council]
* [http://www.eufores.org European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources]
* [http://www.fedarene.org European Federation of Regional Energy and Environment Agencies] (FEDARENE).
In the media
*11 September 1999, "
The Guardian:" [http://www.guardian.co.uk/renewable/Story/0,,201987,00.html Renewable energy across Europe]
*23 March 2007, "
The BBC:" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6476273.stm EU environmental achievements] by Commissioner Dimas.
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