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The solar photovoltaic sector led gains in renewable energy production, revenue, and employment across the EU's 27 member states in 2011, according to latest data.


Renewable Energy In The EU: Solar PV Leads Gains In Output, Turnover, & Employment

The solar photovoltaic sector led gains in renewable energy production, revenue, and employment across the EU’s 27 member states in 2011, according to latest data.

The European Union’s (EU) renewable energy sector continued to grow in 2011, according to the latest, revised data from EurObsev’ER. Renewable energy generated more in the way of green jobs and employment, as well as reductions in carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, as installations grew considerably.

Based on more comprehensive, refined data than was used to produce previous reports, EurObserv’ER’s latest annual renewable energy barometer, “The State of Renewable Energies in Europe,” reports on the contribution renewable energy resources made to EU power generation, fuels production and consumption, employment, and turnover in 2011. It also offers readers highlights of renewable energy developments in seven EU regions.

Green Energy, Jobs, and Economic Growth in the EU

Key takeaways from EurObserv’ER’s latest report on renewable energy in the EU include:

• Renewable energy share of gross final energy consumption 2011: 13.4% vs. 12.5% in 2010
• Renewable energy share in total electricity consumption 2011: 20.6% vs. 20.0% in 2010
• Renewable energy based employment 2011: 1.19 million employed vs. 1.11 million in 2010
• Renewable energy based economic activity 2011: 137 billion euro vs. 132 billion euro in 2010

A “slight” increase in gross consumption of final energy from renewable energy sources in 2011 – to 151.5 million metric tons oil equivalent (Mtoe) vs. 148.5 Mtoe in 2010 – along with a slight decrease in total gross energy consumption (to 1,126.6 Mtoe from 1,184.6 Mtoe in 2010 – accounts for the year-to-year increase, EurObserv’ER elaborated.

The value of renewable energy economic activity across the 27 EU member states for 2011 totaled more than €137 billion, a year-to-year increase of 3%. Revenue from sales in the solar photovoltaic (PV) market segment led the way, totaling €45,924 million, followed by that in the wind power and solid biomass segments of the renewable energy market.

Turning to the latest data on employment across the 27 EU member states, EurObserv’ER found more than 1,186,000 were employed in the renewable energy sector, 3% more than 2010’s 1,148,600.

More Europeans had jobs in the EU’s solar photovoltaic (PV) market segment (311,000) than any other, according to EUObserv’ER data. Employment in the solid biomass and wind power market segments followed, with employment totaling 274,150 and 270,250, respectively.

An “exceptionally mild winter,” which restrained energy consumption for heating, and a slow-down in economic activity contributed to renewable energy’s rising share of EU energy production and use. Gross final renewable energy consumption rose by 2% (3.0 Mtoe) while total final gross energy consumption fell 4.9% (58.0 Mtoe).

EurObserv’ER’s latest calculations aren’t affected by “the important decrease of the European hydroelectricity production in 2011, since the calculations presented here are based on normalized hydroelectricity production and not on effective production,” the report authors noted. Rather, the relatively small increase in overall renewable energy production was linked to “lower consumption of wood fuel and to a relatively small increase of biofuels consumption,” they added.

Adding to EurObserv’ER’s data on renewable energy in the EU, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) recently reported that more than one offshore wind turbine was installed across the 27-member region in 2012, bringing total rated offshore wind power generation capacity to 1,165 megawatts (MW), a 33% year-to-year increase.

The following provides direct links to EurObserv’ER’s 2012 and 2011 reports on individual renewable energy across the EU region:

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