Renewable energies to cater for up to 20% of Europe's energy demand by 2020

New projections show that the five main renewable sources will account for 34% of electricity generation in 2020

New projections show that use of renewable technologies could expand to satisfy 20% of Europe’s energy demand by 2020, a substantial increase from their present level (1). Taking electricity generation alone, the proportion contributed by the five main renewable technologies sources – wind, hydro, photovoltaic, biomass and geothermal – in 2020 will have reached almost 34%. The longer term as-sessment of the potential for renewable energy sources in Europe was carried out by EREC - the European Renewable Energy Council - the umbrella group representing renewable industry and trade and research associations, and the key findings have been presented today in Berlin by Prof. Arthouros Zervos, President of EREC (2):

• The White Paper target of 12% renewable energy by 2010 will be achieved, if specific support actions are taken soon.
• The target for 22,1% of electricity from renewables will be met if measures set out in the EU Renewables Directive are fully transposed and some additional measures are taken.
• A contribution from renewables to total energy consumption of 20% by 2020 is possible.

"Renewables are essential in the campaign to tackle climate change and contribute to the further modernisation of the energy sector", said Prof. Zervos. "As indigenous sources, renewables also help reduce Europe’s dependence on energy imports and have a positive impact on both regional development and employment. The European renewable energy industry already has a yearly turnover of € 10 billion and employs 200,000 people. This is the first time that the European renewable energy industry has taken coordinated action to deliver a complete market analysis and projection up to 2020. This new analysis argues that if progress can be achieved to add 6% of additional renewables over thirteen years (1997-2010), then a further 8% over the following ten years (2010 - 2020) is feasible. “Targets are an important element in any policy making initiative. Without the targets set down in the renewables White Paper, for instance, the European Union would not have implemented the necessary directives on both renewable electricity and biofuels that followed in its wake. Energy investments are long-term, and planning for the future needs to begin well in advance. Establishing projections such as those presented by EREC is a vital first step”, said Zervos. Renewable electricity grew at an annual rate of 4.8% between 1997-2001, and will need to increase that rate to 5.7% over the period up to 2010.

The largest input will come from wind, which by that stage is projected to have reached an installed capacity of 180,000 MW. To reach the overall target for renewable energy, the report indicates that specific support actions should be taken soon to encourage some technologies, such as biomass and solar collectors, that are lagging behind. For instance, political action in the heating and cooling sector has to follow immediately.
European Renewable Energy Council
Trevor Sievert, Online editorial journalist
EWEA, Europe, European Renewable Energy Council, renewable technology, wind energy, solar energy, hydro, photovaltic

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