Cap and Trade Works. EU Replaces Coal Power with Wind Energy

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Like every clean energy blog, CleanTechnica hears all the time from the paid trolls from the fossil industry, that Europe is not succeeding in transferring to clean energy, or cutting its carbon emissions (which is done by transferring to clean energy). Cap and trade won’t work, they instruct us – as instructed by Fox News and the Wall Street Journal – because it didn’t work over there.

Only problem is: the facts say different.
They have for some time. Here’s another dollop of evidence this week.

New EU-wide statistics from the EWEA (European Wind Energy Association) show that more wind power capacity was installed last year than any other electricity-generating technology. What’s more, new wind capacity replaced fossil energy.

In 2009 Europe actually decommissioned more coal, nuclear and gas plants than it built.

A whopping 61% of all new power generating capacity added in 2009 was renewable energy.  Of this, 39% of was wind power, followed by bio gas (26%) and solar photovoltaics (16%). Last year is the second year running that renewable energies have accounted for the majority of new investments, with wind power being the leader.

Investment in new European wind farms in 2009 reached €13 billion, including €1.5 billion offshore.  Across the EU, 10,163 MW of wind power capacity was installed in 2009 – a 23% increase compared to 2008 installations – made up of 9,581 MW onshore (up 21% from last year) and 582 MW offshore (up 56% from last year).

Europe signed the Kyoto Accord in 1997, and once 55% of the UN member countries signed on, its trading scheme came into force in 2005, (Russia’s signature was the tipping point). That is when Europe began a cap and trade system – the ETS or European Trading Scheme.

A study in 2009 by the German Marshall Fund found that all participants in the ETS cap and trade had been able to sell their allowances, and that the value of these sales more than funded the cost to replace fossil energy with renewable energies or efficiencies. In the first three years, while US carbon emissions rose, the EU dropped theirs by 300 million metric tons.

Europe’s carbon emissions are even lower than its Kyoto Accord goals.

By mid-2008 (before the economic apocalypse), four nations (France, Greece, Sweden and Britain) had already met the first goal, to reduce emissions by 8% by 2012, having dropped them by 13%.

By mid 2009, the UK had reduced its carbon emissions by 23%, doubling the 2010 goal, according to Reuters at the time. It is simply not true that Europe has not succeeded in meeting the needed goals of the Kyoto Accord. This week brings more evidence. And the one big difference between Europe and us is they have cap and trade that restricts the emission of greenhouse gases.

Image: Clear Village

Related stories:
Five Good Things Cap and Trade has Done for You
Lessons From the German Marshall Fund From EU Cap and Trade
EU Paper Industry Has Cut Carbon Pollution By 42%: Exceeded Kyoto Goals
Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Will Pay For Itself, CBO Finds

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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