Renewable energy insurance provider Lycetts provide an independent and in-depth analysis of the future state of EU renewables; read on to find out more about its future after Brexit.

Renewable Energy And The EU: Are We Better Off After Brexit?

Contributed by | Lycetts

 

Renewable energy insurance provider Lycetts provide an independent and in-depth analysis of the future state of EU renewables; read on to find out more about its future after Brexit.

Although the dramatic political changes that have occurred since July have cast doubts over the future of progressive climate change research, energies that are eco-friendly are still growing exponentially. In 2015, 147 gigawatts of renewable electricity became available online. More than ever, research and practice has been invested into fuels that are an alternative to traditional coal and gas-fired generators, with $130bn invested in 2015. Globally, renewable energy sources amounted to 10.3% of the electricity that was generated.

What complicates this matter is that the EU is a global leader in the production and consumption of renewable energies, and these account for 44% of the EU’s entire capacity, with 15% of this contributing towards the total amount of energy consumed. In the 7 years from 2004 to 2011, 70% of all the power generated within the EU was as a result of renewable sources.

However, with swaying political changes on a regular basis, this has resulted in shifting opinions regarding the renewable energy market. What needs to be considered is how Brexit has an impact upon these considerations, and how does the government’s decision to leave the single market have an impact upon the EU’s renewable market? Excluding hydroelectricity, the UK was fourth in the world when it came to investing in renewable energy sources, seeing an investment growth of 25% since 2014. Rather than continuing this investment within the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Theresa May’s administration has decided to invest instead in nuclear power at Hinkley Point. Since 2014, Germany has also dramatically slashed investments by 46%, leaving doubts over the sector’s successful future.

Aside from the financial implications, the EU still manages to uphold its reputation as one of the largest producers of renewable energy in the world. With governmental energy announcements appearing to be in continual freefall after the decision to leave the EU – one question remains – what will Britain’s departure from the sector mean for the future of renewable energies?

Targets as they currently stand.

Between 2004 and 2014, the EU increased its total production of renewable energies by 73.1%, equivalent to a 5.6% increase per year – this makes the EU a global leader in this field. Although many countries appear to be falling behind, the 29 member states do have targets to adhere to, and should be reaching certain percentage levels of their total energy output produced by renewables.

The UK currently has a renewable energy target of 15% by 2020, and is currently lagging behind by 5%. This trend may subside, resulting from investment within the sector quadrupling, which has only been matched by Belgium, Luxembourg, and Malta.

Suggested by the lack of growth that has occurred between 2010 and 2013 within 11 of the 29 member countries, it appears that many will not achieve their 2020 forecasted target. At the same time, Nordic member states are leading by example and showing demonstrable improvements. By 2013, Sweden has already exceeded its target of 49% of energy being derived from renewables, hitting 52.1%. Similarly, Bulgaria and Estonia have also managed to excel their targets; Bulgaria managed 19% against its 2020 goal Estonia raised theirs by 0.6% from its 25% target.

The Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Finland have already met their 2020 targets, which lead to wonder why the UK has not.  

Ironically, the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not necessarily hinder the EUs renewable energy targets, it may actually improve them and brighten the sector’s future within the union.

 

The greatest producers of renewable energy and how they produce it.

Germany in 2014 was the largest producer of renewable energies within the EU28 due to Angela Merkel’s ‘Energiewende’ policy. Thus, the country aims to completely rid itself of nuclear and fossil fuels. As a result of this, the country has become the leading producer of solar energy, generating 38, 250 megawatts of solar energy annually.

Scotland will inevitably place a significant dent on the EU’s targets if the country have to leave the union. This is because Scotland is a leader in wind producing wind power; 97% of household electricity is supplied by wind turbines.  

Sweden, as impressively shown, has already met its 2020 target. However, this is not set to slow down anytime soon, the country aims to be 100% powered by renewable sources. By 2040, they should hit this target. Over half, 57%, was produced by renewables largely in the form of wind.  

Denmark is also a leader within the union; thanks to high winds, they were able to produce 140% of their energy supplies through wind power. Unfortunately, this still does not mean that they’ll hit their target, as they are still 1% behind it. Although they shouldn’t have to worry for long. The country is expected to see year-on-year supplies increase by 18%, resulting in the achievement of its estimated targets.

Iceland, even though they’re not an EU country, they are within the European Free Trade Association. This sets the perfect example to all countries within the continent; this is because it operates on 100% renewable sources. Hydroelectric and geothermal sources account for its main methods of production.  

Based on current facts and figures, the UK doesn’t hold a promising future within the renewable energy sector. The UK’s global position and influence appears to be slipping, which appears to be matched by their ability to undermine EU energy targets. Although, Scotland still remains an effective renewable energy producer and supplier. The UKs departure from the EU may close the door on their success within the sector for years to come, but for the union itself, this may have opened another door leading to greater exponential growth in the future.

 

Sources

 


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