Renewable energies European Union Europe Economy France Germany European Union Energy Wind Bio Policy Resource Commission Council Technology Energy Green Electricity United Kingdom
In 2008, Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger declared that "The energy challenge is one of the greatest tests for us all. Putting our energy system onto a new, more sustainable and secure path may take time but ambitious decisions need to be taken now. To have an efficient, competitive and low-carbon economy we have to Europeanise our energy policy and focus on a few but pressing priorities." Europe has set the example for environment-friendly reforms in many domains. In particular, it is one of the top producers of energy from renewable sources, and continues to introduce directives to limit greenhouse gas emissions despite the relative failure of the Copenhagen summit. By 2020 renewable energy should account for 20% of the EU's final energy consumption (it stood at 9.2% in 2006). Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). Nuclear power is not considered to be a source of renewable energy but a low carbon emission source.
Renewable energy sources (RES) have experienced tremendous growth in recent times.
A European Environment Agency analysis of the 20% target shows that electricity will make up 45% of the EU's renewable energy production, with heating and cooling comprising 43% and transport 12% in 2020. Also, 36.1% of electricity will come from RES in 2020. These calculations from the 19 member states which are part of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) stress the increasing economic importance of renewable energy in the EU. The fact that the results calculated by the member states contradict the Commission's most ambitious scenario in its latest Energy Trends to 2030 update, which foresees the same figures ten years later, in 2030, also shows how difficult it is to analyze this sector. This difficulty makes it all the more interesting and challenging to study this new but crucial economic sector. Furthermore, the growth of renewable energy production will probably strengthen European unity, creating an additional connection between member states: cooperation mechanisms are being put in place to ensure the delivery of the national targets, re enforcing the "community spirit". Using these mechanisms will be essential for countries with relatively high targets but very limited domestic sources of renewables.
The improvement of inter-state flexibility mechanisms will be essential not only to achieve the targets, but also in significantly reducing the costs of compliance.
In economically challenging times, Europe needs a strong future-oriented industry and the creation of new jobs. Renewable energies enable to secure economic, environmental and social benefits. What is the future for renewable energies both at the national and the European level, in economic terms?
In the first section of the essay, I will present the different types of renewable energy resources available in Europe, comparing their economic advantages. In the second section, I will analyze a few recent and determining EU policies dealing with the promotion of renewable energies, as well as the EU's prediction of their economic impact. Finally, in the last section, we will study how effectively member states have applied these policies, and how the reforms implemented have changed or are expected to change their national economies.
[...] Second, it plans the further integration of the pan European energy market. In the line of the single market, it aims to complete by 2015 an internal energy market. Within this market, the Commission proposes to introduce simpler and shorter building permits to accelerate EU strategic projects. Also, the Commission aims at creating an EU leadership in energy technology and innovation, particularly with four major projects. These consist of the “smart cities” partnership to promote energy savings in urban areas, research on second-generation biofuels as well as new technologies for electricity storage and intelligent networks. [...]
[...] In addition, France has been looking at the area of solid biomass. In TWh of electricity were produced from biomass, along with 9.2 Mtep for heat production. France has developed many policies on the national level to support the growth of the renewable energy sector. Feed-in-tariffs have been introduced in 2001 and 2002 for hydro, PV, biomass, landfill and sewage gas, offshore wind, CHP, geothermal and solid waste. In addition, a tender system has been introduced for large renewable projects. [...]
[...] RES-H are supported mainly by investment subsidies at the federal level. To conclude this section, the following graph shows the share of Renewable Energies in final energy consumption in each EU member states. The main conclusion I would like to draw from this paper is that the challenges for member state to promote renewable energy growth are multi- faceted. They range from the financial to the social, from the political to the environmental. It is important to be study the obstacles to renewable sources quickly becoming a major part of the EU's energy mix. [...]
[...] Lastly, a regional strategic approach to targets and planning for renewable energies is being developed. A potential barrier to meeting the 2020 objectives is the government's uncertain support. Cameron's new coalition has not yet mentioned whether the current renewable obligation system will be maintained or if it will be replaced by feed-in tariffs. Finland Finland's 38% target for 2020 could make its counterparts very envious. In 2005, it achieved making the 38% goal quite reasonable. It aims to take advantage of its geographical characteristics and rely on wood products to meet more than 19% of its target. [...]
[...] Also, the French industry is well represented in the integrated photovoltaics technology, which is an incentive for the government to support such emerging technologies where France can play a major role. Therefore, a feed-in tariff for integrated photovoltaics of 0.37 - 0.58 per KW hour has been introduced. France has centered its RES approach around a tendering procedure on the one hand, and feed-in tariffs on the other. The country has a long experience in the use of hydro power, especially since” the growth of the electricity generation. [...]
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