We’ve discussed the pros and cons of a proposed US Renewable Energy Standard of 15% by 2021 a bit here on Cleantechnica lately. While we struggle for that bare minimum, though, European nations are steaming ahead in their renewable energy targets.
Northern Ireland announced this week that it plans to hit 40% renewable energy by 2020. Germany announced that it intends to have 60% of its power come from renewable energy by 2050 (but could even hit 100% by that time). And Scotland is aiming for “at least” 100% by 2025 it said in yet another big, clean-energy announcement this week.
Earlier this year, a study found that Europe as a whole is well on its way to exceeding its renewable energy target of 20% by 2020.
Northern Ireland’s Assembly government approved its new target of 40% renewable energy by 2020 this week. It is currently producing about 10% of its energy from renewable resources but is planning to put about £1 billion ($1.58) into grid improvements and continue pushing onshore and offshore wind energy to produce four times that much by 2020.
Energy minister Arlene Foster says:
I fully accept the many challenges we face in balancing competing environmental and cost issues, in order to create a sustainable energy infrastructure that will support economic growth and provide for reliable and competitive energy markets for Northern Ireland
Scotland has set its bar even higher than Northern Ireland, announcing its new target of at least 100% renewable energy by 2025 yesterday. This may be the most ambitious national target in the world.
“Scotland has unrivalled green energy resources and our new national target to generate 80 percent of electricity needs from renewables by 2020 will be exceeded by delivering current plans for wind, wave and tidal generation,” First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond says.
Scotland is also looking to generate a lot of power from onshore and offshore wind. It is also a world leader in wave and tidal energy.
Scotland plans to export some of its clean energy to England, its neighbor to the south that is doing alright itself, especially after installing the largest offshore wind farm in the world last week, but isn’t doing as much (per its needs) as Scotland.
This new announcement to hit 100% renewable energy by 2025 comes just one week after Scotland announced it would hit at least 80% by 2020.
While Germany is the world leader in installed photovoltaic solar energy, its total renewable energy targets are not as high as Northern Ireland and Scotland’s, but they are nothing to laugh at.
Germany’s announcement that it is hoping to hit 60% renewable energy by 2050 is not as big as researchers from the Federal Environment Agency might have hoped, who found a few months ago that Germany could get 100% of its energy from renewable resources by 2050 and could become the first major economy (member of the G20) to cut fossil fuels out of its energy diet, but it is still an ambitious target relatively speaking.
Germany already gets 16% of its energy from renewable sources, more than a potential 2021 Renewable Energy Standard for the US of 15%. But, it is of course aiming to install a lot more renewable energy, such as wind, solar, biomass, and hydro, in coming years.
It is nice to see Europe steaming forward in the clean energy sector. Hopefully it will even exceed its relatively ambitious targets.
Photo Credit: Wind turbines in Scotland, by flickr user marcusjroberts
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