Quantcast

Europe's Renewable Energy Sector Poised for Huge Growth

Renewable Energy

European Environment Agency

Offshore wind energy capacity in Europe is projected to increase 17-fold between 2010 and 2020, while newer renewable technologies such as concentrated solar power and wave/tidal power will also increase more than 11-fold according to projections. European countries are also expected to significantly boost solar photovoltaic power, onshore wind and other renewable technologies over the next decade.

The projections are based on European countries’ plans to install renewable energy sources, which have been analyzed by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The latest update shows the diversity of approaches to meeting the E.U.’s collective target of 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020. According to the latest figures, 11.7 percent of energy used in the E.U. came from renewable sources in 2009.

“This analysis is particularly timely, coming as government representatives gather to discuss climate change in Durban, South Africa. It illustrates the scale of Europe’s commitment to transform its energy sector,” Jacqueline McGlade, EEA executive director, said. “However, with a concerted effort we can and should go even further to phase in renewable energy sources. Burning fossil fuels threaten the stability of our climate, and our most recent analysis has shown that pollution from coal and gas power plants is costing Europe many billions of euros a year in health costs.”

European Union Member States have individual targets, and must submit National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) to the European Commission outlining how they expect to meet their 2020 renewable target, including the technology mix they intend to use and the trajectory they will follow.

Key growth projections between 2010 and 2020 include:

  • Offshore wind is projected to grow the most rapidly, with installed capacity multiplying 17 times over 10 years.
  • Onshore wind and biomass electricity installed capacity to double, with solar photovoltaic capacity to triple over the same period.
  • A greater part of Europe’s electricity will come from the sea, as wave and tidal energy are projected to increase 11-fold.
  • The electricity-generating capacity of concentrated solar power will increase 11-fold.
  • Heat pump output will triple while geothermal heat and solar thermal output will approximately quadruple.

Despite these growth rates, the 2020 targets will be met by just a narrow margin according to the projections, highlighting the challenge facing Europe as it aims to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels.

Approximately 43 percent of all renewable energy production is planned for heating and cooling, with biomass accounting for 80 percent renewable heating and cooling output. Transport will make up the smallest proportion of renewable energy consumption (12 percent), but is expected to be the fastest growing element between 2005 and 2020.

The update to the database comes a year after E.U. Member States submitted information describing how they would meet their targets in 2020. The accompanying report has also been updated, with the latest information for 20 Member States, additional data on biomass and data on land use for energy crops.

The report was written for the EEA by the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands.

  • Renewable energy projections as published in the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the European Member States' (2011 update). The report and accompanying data are available here.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less