New research indicates that renewable energy capacity will overtake nuclear power in the UK by 2018. By 2015 one in ten British homes will be powered by renewable energy sources. It has been a remarkably good year for the renewable energy industry. Wind energy alone is up by a quarter since 2010.
The wind power industry continued to grow despite prominent Conservative MPs signing a statement that opposed the building of new wind farms. Investment in offshore windfarms grew by 60% to £1.5bn in the past six months.
Despite the outspoken opposition from many Tory MPs against wind power, there was a rise in the amount of onshore wind capacity approved last year for the first time since 2008.
Maria McCaffery, chief executive of Renewable UK, said: “These strong figures underline the importance of a secure trading climate to attract investment, especially in difficult times. That’s why it’s so important that the framework provided by the energy bill, currently under parliamentary scrutiny, must be right. Although we still have a long way to go to meet our challenging targets, we are firmly on track and gathering momentum.”
Half of Germany’s energy consumption is expected to be from renewable energy as soon as 2022, much faster than the government’s forecast.
The boom in installations of solar, wind and other renewable energy sources is likely to exceed forecasts of 35% according to Stephan Kohler, who heads the government-affiliated agency overseeing Germany’s electricity grid.
“I think this is a realistic dimension,” Kohler said. “By then we can manage to integrate it in our electricity grid.”
After Japan’s nuclear disaster in 2011, Germany decided it needed to speed up phasing out nuclear power. At the time nuclear power accounted for approximately a quarter of the country’s electricity production, similar to Japan and the U.S. Since this initiative, renewable energies’ share has since risen from 17 percent to 25 percent, driven by subsidies and investment incentives that are mostly paid for by a tax on households’ electricity bills.
“Never has an industrialized nation tried to transform its electricity production in such a radical manner as we are currently doing it,” Kohler said.
“Given the current renewable energy expansion plans by Germany’s states, if all of them were implemented, we would reach a level of 63 to 64 percent by about 2025. In our opinion, that is not sustainable,” Kohler said at a briefing with foreign journalists in Berlin.
The 2012 EU Energy [R]evolution report demonstrates how Europe can create half a million jobs in the energy sector as well as long term savings for consumers and increased climate stability if it prioritises renewables and energy efficiency over traditional fossil fuels.
Greenpeace International senior energy expert Sven Teske said: “Every €1 rise in the price of oil costs Europeans over €400 million a month. By refocusing its energy system, the EU can cut that this dependency almost in half by 2030. Renewable energy, combined with efficiency standards for cars and buildings, will revitalise our societies and save billions of euros.”
The Energy [R]evolution will only be possible with real political leadership: The European Union and its member states will have to set the framework for a sustainable energy pathway.
EREC secretary general Josche Muth said: “There is a need for a binding 2030 renewable energy target for investor confidence, to provide a stimulus to the industry, and, most importantly, to help create new jobs and technological innovation as a way out of the economic crisis. I often hear the call for policy clarity and for clear targets to encourage companies and research institutions to make the necessary commitment to allow the sector to continue its rapid growth over the coming years.”
The report’s methodology for calculating jobs can be found below: