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Sea change in renewables policy as targets are met

EUROPE: Experts have hailed a shift in Europe's attitude towards renewables, following predictions that the EU will exceed its target to produce 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

After analysing the forecast documents submitted by the 27 EU member states under the requirements of the renewables directive, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said 21 will meet their national targets, with eight of these expecting to exceed them. Only six say they will just miss their targets.

EWEA's policy directorJustin Wilkes says the association's analysis reveals clear progress since 2008: "Europe has witnessed a sea change since the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive was agreed, as in 2008 many countries were stating that their targets would be difficult to meet - now the majority are forecasting that they will meet or exceed their national targets."

Gaynor Hartnell, chief executive of the UK's Renewable Energy Association (REA), agrees. "There seems to have been a mood change across the union," she says. "Where once countries seemed to focus their energies on wriggling out of their obligations, now they are more bullish."

Multiple benefits

Christine Lins, secretary general of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) adds: "The clear majority of European member states recognise the economic, environmental and social benefits of promoting a broad range of renewable energy technologies nationally, as reflected in their forecast documents."

Countries expected to surpass expectations include Spain, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden, while Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Bulgaria and Denmark are likely to miss the expected mark, though the latter two suggest that with fresh national initiatives they can meet or exceed their targets.

Firmer predictions are due to be released in June.

For more, see Europe boost R&D to maintain dominance.

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