Sunday, 16 December 2007

Britain falls behind on Renewable Energy in Europe

On my recent trip to Spain I went past some interesting remewable energy projects. It seems so wonderfull to see them, coming home by contrast there is not much here. According to the latest figures, only 6.4% of the EU's energy is set to come from renewable sources in 2007, and analysts say it will be difficult for the EU to meet its target of getting 12.5% of its energy from renewable sources by 2010.

A record 7,500 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity was built in Europe in 2006. Wind energy now supplies 3.3% of the EU's total gross electricity consumption. It is estimated that the wind power capacity will increase from today's 50,000 MW, producing 100THW of energy, to 180 GW, producing 500 TWH of electricity by 2020. Wind power could, some studies say, supply 16% of the EU's total electricity consumption by 2020. However, a big increase in wind capacity in Germany, Spain and Denmark as well as in the UK, France, Italy and Portugal has boosted electricity from renewable sources to record levels, compensating for droughts that have hit Europe's hydroelectric power production, and paving the way for the EU to come within a whisker of reaching its electricity sector target of 21% by 2010. In 2005, 16.3% of renewable electricity came from wind, 15.8% came from biomass, 1.2% from geothermal and 0.3% from solar power; the majority, 66.4%, came from the EU's expanding hydroelectric power sector.

Nine countries are on track to meet their national renewable electricity targets of 21% for 2010: Denmark, Germany, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Luxemburg, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands. Germany has already overshot the EU target and 14 per cent of its gross electricity consumption is expected to come from renewable energy by the end of 2007. In 2000 the share was 6.3%. We as usual are well behind in Britain.

Some European countries are set to miss all the EU renewable energy targets, including Belgium, the UK, Italy and Greece. UK government officials estimated that the UK can hope at best to have 9% of its energy by 2020 from renewable sources; it currently has 2% from renewable sources.

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