Renewables target ‘very difficult to meet’

With just over a fortnight to go before climate talks start again in Cancun, a new report warns that the renewables share in final energy consumption will be “very difficult to meet”.

Despite growth by renewable energies generation in 2009 (15 per cent for wind and 53 per cent in solar photovoltaics) the 20 per cent target is a “very challenging target”, according to a report published today by Capgemini, the consultancy.

The European Commission’s assumptions imply that by 2020 the output from renewables will effectively double from around 600 TWh today to around 1,200 TWh by 2020, with about 500 TWh of this increase coming from wind. According to Capgemini, this could be very difficult to meet as:

  1. In much of Western Europe the most favourable onshore wind sites have already been taken, which means the development of offshore wind farms that are more expensive and more technically challenging to build
  2. Project finance capital is likely to be more constrained over the next decade than over the last
  3. The subsidies needed to drive the development of offshore wind and solar energy in many European countries over the next five years will be negatively impacted by their financial situation

Cheaper gas – the spectacular development of unconventional gas in North America, has led to a sharp gas price decrease – is another factor as it makes wind look even less competitive.

You can listen to more on the report in an interview with Colette Lewiner, head of Energy, Utilities and Chemicals at Capgemini and the author of the report, on our weekly podcast later today.

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