Renewables Generate 33% of EU Electricity
Europe drew one-third of its electricity production from renewable sources in 2014, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) reported last week. “There is a revolution taking place,” said Corporate Affairs Manager Susanne Nies.
Hydropower increased to 18.5% of total generation from 15.3% in 2011, while “other renewables,” mostly solar and wind, grew from 9.3% to 14.4%. Fossil fuels fell from 48.6% to 40.5%, while nuclear held steady despite a phase-out in Germany.
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Nies said the growth in renewables has only just begun. “The EU has a target of 27% renewable energy in 2030, which translates into 46% renewable electricity,” and “we should have no problem reaching that target.” A threshold of 80% renewable generation “is possible,” she added, if the grid system can change.
“The big issue is variability,” Nies told Energy Post. “We need more storage, more demand response, more e-mobility, data management, more cooperation between DSOs (distribution system operators) and TSOs (transmission system operators). In addition, we need market signals to attract investment. This is our main worry now.”
Meanwhile, CleanTechnica reports the EU’s carbon emissions were down another 5% in 2014, citing The Carbon Brief. Energy use is at 1990 levels, despite a 6% increase in population and 45% economic growth, thanks to “improvements in product energy efficiency, uptake of renewables, vehicle fuel efficiency standards, and changes in the structure of the economy.” But Greenpeace climate and energy specialist Niklas Schineri warned that the share of high-emitting lignite (soft, low-quality coal) in the EU’s energy mix “is still very high.”