Renewables deployment increasingly uneven

EUROPE: The deployment of non-hydro renewable power in Europe is becoming increasingly uneven, a new report has claimed, with a skew towards the UK and Germany, as wind becomes more dominant.

Wind generation in the UK and Germany is dominating renewables growth (pic: UKA Group)
Wind generation in the UK and Germany is dominating renewables growth (pic: UKA Group)

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The European Power Sector in 2017 report was released by think tank Sandbag in cooperation with German advocacy group Agora Energiewende.

It found non-hydro renewable generation – wind, solar, and biomass – produced more power in 2017 (679TWh) than coal (669TWh) for the first time.

Sandbag noted the fact coal produced more than twice that of non-hydro renewables just five years ago.

Last year was also the first time renewables' share of gross electricity production in Europe reached 30% — up from 29.8% in 2016.

"This was because the huge growth in wind generation was almost completely offset by the lowest hydro electricity generation in a decade," the report explained.

However, renewable deployment is becoming more reliant on Germany and the UK, and is increasingly "biased" towards wind power.

Germany and the UK alone contributed roughly 56% of renewables generation growth between 2014 and 2017 – up from 41% in 2011-2014.

"To some extent this may reflect the fact that some member states have already reached their national 2020 targets under the EU Renewable Energy Directive...

"It is, however, also a reflection of unnecessarily high financing costs, particularly in central and south-eastern Europe, standing in the way of translating the dramatic decline in renewable energy technology costs into truly low-cost renewable energy projects," the report suggested

Wind, meanwhile, provided 46% of generation from 2011 to 2014. Since then, however, it has supplied 72%, the report said.

In the report's outlook, Sandbag predicts renewable power to supply a third of Europe's electricity in 2018.

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