On course for 20% by 2020?
While renewable energy is getting the big push by European countries this year, a new report by the European Commission has revealed that an astonishing 62 percent of new electricity generation capacity installed in the EU27 in 2009 was renewable, a five percent rise on 2008.
The study published by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) showed that for the second year running, among the sources of renewable energy utilised by the EU27, wind energy provided the largest share of energy generation.
In terms of absolute European energy generation, 19.9 percent was produced by renewables, with hydro-power holding the largest share (11.6 percent), followed by wind (4.2 percent).
20% by 2020
The report - entitled "Renewable Energy Snapshots" - aims to produce an up-to-date picture every year of the EU's progress towards the binding target of 20 percent for energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.
The report is compiled based on two types of data; official figures from EU countries or EUROSTAT, and those provided by industry associations, research industries.
In each case, the JRC notes that due to the methodology of collection, values might deviate and claims there is therefore a margin of uncertainty which should be taken into account.
According to the figures, renewable sources provided 17GW of new electricity generation capacity installed in the EU last year, out of a total of 27.5GW built, with wind accounting for 10.2GW (38 percent) of that figure.
It is believed that if figures keep increasing at this rate, by 2020 up to 1400TWh of electricity could be generated from renewable sources, which would account for around 35-40 percent of overall electricity consumption in the EU.
While this is excellent news for the continent, there are some issues to be resolved; namely ensuring fair access to grids, substantial public research and development (R&D) support and the adaptation of current electricity systems to accommodate renewable electricity.
It is also believed that the figure can be further reached with the increase of biomass usage with seven member states (Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Finland, Italy, Sweden, Hungary) announcing biomass as the main renewable energy resource for the future.
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