Renewable energies are progressing in Europe
EurObserv’ER published its eighth report on the state of renewable energies in Europe. Both in French and English, it demonstrates the sector is vibrant and is just taking off.
As there are too many renewable energy solutions to be handled in a single article, I will only present you here the findings of the report on solar photovoltaïc, wind and geothermal.
Renewables are already adding gigawatts to the European grids each year. Coupled with important energy efficiency measures, they are good omens for a low carbon future.
To Jean-Louis Bal, the Director of the Renewable Energies and Energy Networks and Markets for the French ADEME :
A decrease in European energy consumption and growth in the contribution of renewable energies in 2007, adoption of the European Union Climate and Energy Package including the 2020 Renewable Energies Directive and, for France, adoption of the Grenelle Law in first reading at the National Assembly, etc., the year 2008 ended with a succession of good news for the environment and development of renewable energies.
They contrast with the general ambient moroseness created by the global economic crisis and even show that the measures of an energy management policy are powerful tools for boosting the economy. In this respect, we warmly welcome the initiative of EurObserv’ER in adding analyzes concerning economic activity and job creation to its traditional energy indicators.
They come at the exactly right moment to confirm the interest for European governments to base incentives for the economy on sectors aiming to preserve the environment. For France, ADEME published in 2008 a study on the markets and jobs linked to renewable energies and to energy efficiency which, in addition to an analysis of the years 2006 and 2007, presents forecasts for 2012.
Reaching the objectives of the “Grenelle de l’environnement” and, therefore, those of the new European Directive, will signify, beginning in 2012, the creation of 218 000 new jobs, including 66 000 in renewable energies and 152 000 in energy efficiency,while at the same time preventing in 2012 the additional annual non-renewable production of 12Mtoe, 7Mtoe for renewable energies and 5Mtoe for energy efficiency.
This signifies a decrease in energy imports and CO2 emissions. Creation of jobs, improvement of the trade balance, the fight against climate change, this is really a strategy where no one can lose, but everyone wins.
After this most interesting foreword, let’s review the facts and figures:
Wind energy added no less than 8,290 MW to the grids in 2007, compared to 7,390 in 2006. The European wind energy capacity thus reaches 56 GW.
Even if Germany and Spain still represents more than 60 percent of the market, other countries like the United Kingdom, Italy and France added important quantities to their respective grids (see page 13)
Solar PV also progressed in an important way as the installed capacity grew up by 55 percent in 2007 with more than 1,700 MWp installed. The total capacity reaching thus 4,846 MWp.
Germany remains the market leader as it installed 1,100 MWp that year alone. Spain comes second as it added more than 500 MWp (see page 17).
Geothermal can either be used to produce electricity or heat premises and houses. The first use added slightly more than 850 MWe in 2007 thus enabling this energy source to reach 5,800 MWh.
The vast majority is installed in Italy, which concentrates more than 95 percent of the European capacity.
For heat applications, Hungary is the country accounting for the largest share as it accounts for nearly 700 MWth . For comparison, the whole Union has “only” 2,465 MWth.
For more details, don’t hesitate to download the full report (pdf format ; 148 pages ; 6 Mb)