Europe almost on track for 2010 renewables target

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Europe is set to fall just short of its renewables target for a 21% share of electricity by 2010. In a report on renewables' progress published by the European Commission as part of its Energy Strategy for Europe, figures show that by 2010 renewables will supply 19% of the continent's electricity. In 2005, renewables contributed 15% of Europe's electricity but the year also saw a higher than expected level of electricity consumption overall. Indeed, electricity consumption is rising in the EU at 2% per year and in some countries, the renewables share of electricity is declining. Among the different technologies, wind is the clear success story, boasting a 150% growth in capacity since 2001. With a 60% share of the global wind power market, the EU is the established leader in the field, finds the report. Wind provides 2.6% of Europe's electricity, a volume equivalent to the electricity consumption of Denmark and Portugal combined. But in half the EU, delays in authorising wind plant construction, unfair grid conditions and slow reinforcements of the power grid are slowing the uptake of wind. Construction of wind farms offshore will be a key element in wind's growth over the next few years, says the report.

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