Industry Divided Over EU Initiatives to Meet Renewable Energy Targets

Renewable Energy World Europe, Europe’s leading renewable energy conference and exhibition, has announced that the industry remains divided as to whether the EU can achieve its 20-20-20 targets (generate 20% of its total energy from renewables by 2020). In a survey of global utility companies and energy firms, Renewable Energy World Europe found that 44% of respondents believe the EU will fail to meet its targets, and a further 44% saying that it is too early to tell.

The survey was conducted amongst experts drawn from some of the world’s largest utility and energy firms, and also confirmed that continued technical innovation is viewed as the most important factor to the continued development of renewables in Europe, with over 60% of participants highlighting its importance.

In December 2010, the EU unveiled a Eur1.2 billion investment plan across three pan-European research infrastructures in nuclear, solar, and wind energy. A wind research facility in Denmark, a concentrated solar power installation in Spain, and a nuclear research reactor in Belgium are to be constructed to enable ground-breaking research and innovation to help secure the EU’s future energy supply.

Emerging technologies such as wave and tidal energy systems have the capacity to rival wind power as a key source for renewable energy, with the UK proving a potential hotspot accommodating 35% of Europe’s total wave-energy potential. The Carbon Trust estimates that the UK could achieve 15% of its electricity needs by harnessing wave power alone.

According to Renewable Energy World Europe’s findings, 56% of participants agreed that wave power will play a significant role in the future for European renewables. However, governments have tended to steer clear of investing because wave power is considered a high risk technology.

“The EU must drive toward further investment in renewable technologies if it is to achieve its 20-20-20 targets,” says David Appleyard, conference director for Renewable Energy World Europe. “The survey underlines the importance of innovation, yet many of the EU member countries are struggling to meet their targets due to their lack of investment in renewables. There needs to be a greater commitment to the development and installation of renewables across Europe, and with more investment, the EU could smash its 2020 targets.”

The results of the survey were announced ahead of Renewable Energy World Europe 2011, which is being held at Fiera Milano City in Milan, from 7-9 June. Visitors to the event will also have access to Europe’s leading energy exhibitions, POWER-GEN Europe 2011, and Nuclear Power Europe 2011. In addition, all three events will be complemented by a comprehensive conference programme, providing participants with a deeper understanding of a wide range of industry issues.

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