The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) reports that fully one-third of last year’s electricity in Europe came from renewable energy. At 24% four years prior, this means fewer fossil fuels are being used. Susanne Nies, Corporate Affairs Manager at ENTSO-E, calls it a “revolution.”
ENTSO-E recently released their annual review,Electricity in Europe 2014, showing the growth in renewable energy taking place in electricity production. They claim a total of 33% of renewable energy, with 14.4% comprised of wind, solar power, and other sources, and 18.5% hydropower. Hydropower was just 15.3%, and others 9.3% in 2011. Fossil fuel has decreased from 48.6% to 40.5% in 2011 to 2014.
“The EU has a target of 27% renewable energy in 2030, which translates into 46% renewable electricity. We should have no problem reaching that target. It’s a revolution that we’re seeing,” said Nies.
The estimates reveal an increase in electricity imports and exports for EU countries. Since 2010, these exchanges have increased 16%, and France and Germany had the largest ‘negative’ exchanges, while Italy, the UK, and Belgium had more electricity coming in than going out.
She claims the change could reach 80% if the system changes to suit their needs: “The electricity system needs to change. The big issue is variability. We need more storage, more demand response, more e-mobility, data management, more cooperation between DSO’s (distribution system operators) and TSO’s (transmission system operators). In addition, we need market signals to attract investment. This is our main worry now.”
That need for electricity storage may bode well for American company Tesla which, in addition to making electric cars, is making massive investments in battery technology, which we’ve profiled previously here. Such large-scale battery storage systems will be used in wind and solar installations to reduce just the type of variability EU renewables generators are experiencing.
ENTSO-E will release its vision on June 24th with a ‘Vision Package,’ and discuss the future of renewable energy. They anticipate a rise in consumption. Nies said, “Experts expect that annual electricity consumption of the average 4-person household will increase from 3,500 kWh now to 5,000 kWh. We believe this process has already started.”