by Staff Writers
Paris (UPI) Jan 4, 2012
Europe modestly grew the share of renewables in its total energy consumption to 12.4 percent n 2010, an industry report released this week in Paris revealed.
EurObserv'ER, an energy trade research group partially funded by the European Commission, said Monday in its Barometer report the boost for renewables in the energy mix amounted to a 0.9-point year-on-year increase compared to 2009.
Its numbers also showed Europe consumed 145 million tons of oil equivalent in renewable energy compared to 131.6 Mtoe in 2009 -- a 10 percent increase, which handily beat 2009's jump of 2.1 percent over 2008 levels.
Some 19.8 percent of Europe's electricity consumption was supplied by green energy sources in 2010, up from 18.2 percent in previous year.
But while encouraging, Europe needs to maintain the momentum to reach the EU's targets for levels of renewable energy consumption, the report's authors warned.
They noted Europe needs to boost its green energy consumption by 10 Mtoe in each of the next nine years to do so.
"EU members should produce an extra 100 Mtoe of final energy from renewable sources to achieve the 2020 legally binding target of 20 percent of renewable energies in the EU-27 final energy gross consumption," EurObserv'ER said.
The group also released figures ranking the 27 member nations on share of renewable sources in their energy diets. In that respect, Sweden was leader with 46.9 percent, followed by Latvia at 34.3 percent.
Spain (12.9 percent) was 11th, followed by France (11.7 percent) in 13th and Germany (9.3 percent) in 15th place.
Meanwhile, Britain at 3 percent bested only Luxembourg and Malta at the bottom of the EU list. It also has the biggest gap to overcome to achieve its 2020 targets -- it needs to increase its energy share from renewables by 11.7 percent over the next nine years to meet them.
That could prove difficult in Britain's charged political atmosphere surrounding renewable energy, The Guardian reported.
Conservative opponents are stepping up attacks on the energy mandates, citing higher consumer energy costs and substantial taxpayer subsidies to an unprofitable industry, the newspaper said.
The libertarian Adam Smith Institute and Scientific Alliance warned last month the country is heading for an energy crisis because the government is underestimating the costs of infrastructure improvements needed to overcome the intermittent nature of renewable energy production.
"The facts actually show that current renewables technologies are incapable of making a major contribution to energy security and have only limited potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," study co-author Martin Livermore asserted.
A Department of Energy and Climate Change representative challenged that conclusion, however, telling The Guardian the nation's renewable energy industry had attracted nearly $3.9 billion in investments.
"It would be madness to put all our eggs in one basket, ignore the U.K.'s huge renewables potential and just give away Britain's share of the green energy revolution," the representative said.
The debate has picked up intensity as the government gets ready to unveil more domestic electricity market reforms, in which it will introduce a central auction mechanism to help ensure enough reserve capacity to mitigate consumer price spikes during times of tight supply.
The DECC has said it also plans to also introduce legislation on feed-in tariffs paid to renewable energy suppliers by May, with a first "delivery plan" establishing how much capacity Britain will need coming by next year.
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