Additionally, “in 2009 about 19.9 percent (608 TWh) of the total net Electricity Generation (3,042 TWh) came from Renewable Energy sources. Hydro power contributed the largest share with 11.6 percent, followed by Biomass with 3.5 percent, Wind with 4.2 percent and solar with 0.4 percent.”
If the recent growth rates continue at the same pace, up to 1400 TWh of electricity could be generated from renewable sources by 2020. That would represent between 35 to 40 percent of all power consumed in the EU, says the report, and would contribute significantly to meeting the 20 percent mandate for energy generation from renewables.
But the report warned of possible obstacles to meeting the target and urged resolving issues surrounding fair access to grids, substantial public R&D support, and upgrading/retooling current infrastructure to accommodate renewable electricity. The study also stresses that reduced cost and implementation will depend most on production volume and not on time.
The importance of offshore wind farms was also underscored in a Renewable Energy Strategy report presented to the European Commission by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change. According to the study, the development of offshore wind renewable was integral to the UK being able to meet the EU 2020 renewable energy targets.
The DECC concluded up to 33 GW of offshore renewable generation could be developed, with the majority connected to the onshore electricity grid through offshore transmission cables costing around GBP 15 billion ($22.8 billion).
In the report the DECC stated: “Offshore wind is a key area for development. We will work to develop an offshore electricity grid. This new generation of offshore wind power will play a key role in meeting our 2020 target.”
The DECC also urged improved grid efficiency through smart meters and smart appliances, greater renewable and distributed generation, and increased financial support for renewables such as through feed-in tariffs for electricity and heat.
The UK along with the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, are the only countries so far to have filed its national renewable energy plan to the EC that details how each country will meet the 2020 targets.