Reshaping Europe’s energy landscape

Pilita Clark, environment correspondent for the Financial Times, reports that a record 71% of all the new power generating capacity fitted in the Europe Union last year came from solar panels, wind turbines or other renewable energy sources.

Is the EU on course to meet its target of 20% of all energy needs from renewable sources by 2020?

A European Wind Energy Association report shows that the EU power sector is moving away from fuel oil, coal and nuclear while continuing to increase its total installed capacity with gas, wind and solar PV to meet increasing demand. It records that the amount of clean power installed in 2011 rose to 32 gigawatts*, compared with 23GW installed in 2010.

This was largely due to a surge in solar installations in Italy and Germany, whereas the number of wind power stations installed across Europe last year was similar to that in 2010. Solar photovoltaic systems made up 47% of all new installations, more than gas and wind power combined.

Italy became the world’s biggest solar PV market (9GW) for the first time in 2011, according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association and Germany still leads the world in terms of the total amount of solar installations fitted.

Oil prices predicted to rise this year to a record high

As the chief executive of Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, says today, oil prices could jump this year to a record high above $150 because of the Iranian sanctions. Will some of the electricity generated be used to power electric and hydrogen vehicles?

 

The New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT) issued a roadmap (above), which – rather cautiously? – forecasts that by 2020, hybrids, electric and hydrogen vehicles will be entering the market on a larger scale. 

If renewable power installations and oil prices continue to rise perhaps the market expansion will be brought forward. 

* A gigawatt can supply 1 million U.S. households on average, according to Mark Pervan, head of commodity research at the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group.

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