Countries of European Union (EU) have set ambitious goal to increase share of renewable energy sources from 8.5% to 20% in the overall energy consumption in EU by year 2020. This renewable energy increase is necessary contribution to the global fight against climate change and big step towards better control over energy dependence which is also very important goal for EU countries. Better control over energy dependence is necessary because rising oil prices and unstable political and economical situation in Ukraine which can lead to shortage in natural gas supplies from Russia. This EU initiative in renewable energy field is providing over 350.000 jobs with annual turnover around €30 billion, and that makes European Union world leader in the use and deployment of technologies for exploitation of renewable energy sources. European Union is not concentrating on some specific renewable energy source, so there are a lot of various renewable energy technologies included into this project. Some of most promising renewable energy technologies are listed below in this article (from video).
Global warming and energy dependence make it necessary for European Union to adapt modern energy production and consumption without delay. Renewable energy sources available locally can make a great contribution with little or no CO2 emissions. In 2005 this energies made up 8.5% of the final energy consumption of the European Union. By 2020 the objective is to reach the share of 20%. The water mills and wind mills of our grandparents produced mechanical energy from renewable energy sources. Their modern versions produces electricity, thus wind mills transform wind into electricity. The European production of wind electricity which is made great progress is now equivalent for example of combined electricity needs of Denmark and Hungary. Hydraulic energy produces also electricity. Small hydraulic plants or big dams – the production process is the same. The energy potential of the water is converted into electric energy.
Geothermal energy uses heat from the deeps of the Earth to produce heat for electricity generation. A just a few meters below the surface already heat pumps connect extract heat of gardens to heat houses. This is relatively new, but promising application. Solar energy can produce heat or electricity. Solar heat panels installed on the roof can cover most of hot water needs for sanitary purposes and conserve as the backup for domestic heating. It’s estimated that over 20 million of square meters of solar heat panels were installed trough out Europe in 2006, and not only in the southern countries. Solar energy is also directly converted into electricity in solar mirror plants using panels of solar cells grouped together in plants or placed in facades of buildings, or roofs or in isolated sites.
Biomass is produced from vegetable, animal or urban waste. It’s called a sleeping giant, because is probably the most important renewable energy in the future. It has multiple applications. The most wide spread is combustion of wood or wood pallets for domestic heating. In industry the aim is to co-generate heat and electricity which offers a much better overall yield. Biogas is produced by fermentation of waste such as liquid manure used in farming or other organic waste. Biogas produces heat or electricity. Purified, biogas can be used as gaseous biofuel. Biomass also makes it possible to produce liquid biofuels – biodiesel and bioetanol. The European Union has proposed that 10% of diesel and petrol needs be covered by biofuels by 2020, with strict respect of the conditions for the sustainable development in this domain.
European Union is the world leader in the development of renewable energy with over 350.000 jobs and annual turnover of over €30 billions. It intends to stay in the lead and is committed to reaching the objective of 20% of renewable energy by 2020. Governments have a crucial role to play trough they good example and they support, but each individual can also help to achieve this ambitious but necessary objective.
More about renewable energy sources you can read here.
For more detailed information about this ambitious plan check out this video: