Renewable energy progress report, Europe

Two weeks ago, the european commission discussed the progress of renewable energy in Europe and posted a report on the progress and the future estimates to reach the 2020 targets .


The report shows us the problems that lay ahead. I’ll be talking mainly about the 2nd point: PROGRESS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT. The graphs mentioned will be found there. (The rest is very interesting as well, and could be some nice bedside lecture ;-))

The first graph shows a serious growth during 2005 to 2010. It shows we are on the right track according to the target. But after this, the amount of renewable energy pretty much remained the same. This already shows a problem.

A new analysis was made to simulate the progress untill 2020, which shows us pretty depressive numbers. By 2020, the amount of renewable energy would be only 75-80% of what was planned. The following graphs show us the planned amount of renewable energy versus the estimated amounts. These graphs are divided into Wind Energy (on/offshore), biomass energy, biofuel energy and PV energy. According to these estimated numbers, none of the above will reach the planned values with their current plans. With the biggest failure being seen in offshore wind energy.

The results show us that their will be even more effort and budget needed than initially planned. The last 7 years were used to achieve the first 20% (as planned), which means that there will a much steeper growth needed in the future.

These depressive estimates are partly caused by policy changes which scare of investors, regulatory risk, adminastrative burdens and delays, slow infrastructure, delays in connection, grid operational rules and ofcourse the economic crisis.

As we are still on track on the moment all these estimates can still be changed, with more effort, bigger investments, etc. Probable also less stupid investments, like the 450€ subsidies Belgium gave in the beginning (which will cost a fortune, which otherwise could have been invested more wisely).

I didn’t know that the forecasts where this bad, and hopefully Europe will raise the alarm.


13 thoughts on “Renewable energy progress report, Europe

  1. An amount of 80 % of renewable energy in 7 years is a lot I think, it would be nice but unrealistic. And it also has to go together with improvements of the electrical distribution, because renewable energy is only reliable when different ways are combined. So I think that 7 year is unrealistic, also because the governments have not enough money anymore, the private sector will have to make the big changes. Why don’t they speak about hydro power? Because this is also a very strong way of producing electricity

    • woutcordeel says:

      I think hydro power is only efficient when you have rivers with a certain mass flow and there are just few rivers in Europe which are interesting for hydro power. In south america you got lots of rivers with a high altitude difference and mass flow thus hydro power is the main supplier of renewable energy.

      • The mass flow isn’t the most important thing, the most important thing is the dimension of the river. If the river is big enough a dam can be built and in this way you can make a desired mass flow through the turbine.

      • tijlcrauwels says:

        A dam often means you have to create an artificial lake, and this often means destroying nature (in a ‘good’ case), and disowning people’s houses etc in a bad case. Remember seeing the great dam we saw in China, 300 000 people had to move for this. So don’t think this really that viable in Europe.

      • woutcordeel says:

        In Europe mass flow is related to the dimensions of the river Korneel because of the small altitude differences. Just another expression :p.

      • You have three regions in Europe with great altitude, so I don’t think that altitude difference should be a problem.

      • tijlcrauwels says: This might give a better view on hydropower in Europe. Most of the dam’s are used as power storage only. Some in the countries with higher altitude changes and bigger rivers, hydropower is used.

      • deckersbram says:

        You don’t always need a lake, I know there is a dam in France that works on the tides. In the potential of hydropower I think really lies in the sea and the tides, not in the rivers because of the enviromental damages that are caused.

  2. tijlcrauwels says:

    No it would be an amount of approximately 8%, but that is 80% of their current target. Maybe I didn’t make this clear, now they have reached the first 20% of the target set in 2020.

  3. tijlcrauwels says:

    The target is: “The Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC (“the Directive”) established a European framework for the promotion of renewable energy, setting mandatory national renewable
    energy targets for achieving a 20% share of renewable energy in the final energy consumption
    and a 10% share of energy from renewable sources in transport by 2020.”

    • woutcordeel says:

      Maybe a stupid question but what do you mean with the final energy consumption?

      • tijlcrauwels says:

        I think they mean the energy that people actually used. Because as for nuclear energy, they lose about 60-70% to heating and cooling towers (not sure about the numbers).

        Edit: found it on wikipedia: “Total world energy supply is distinct from actual world energy usage due to energy loss. For example, in 2008, total world energy supply was 143,851 TWh, while end use was 98,022 TWh. Energy loss depends on the energy source itself, as well as the technology used. For example, Nuclear Power (as of 2008) loses 67% of its energy to water cooling systems.”

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