Europe Shows a "Staggering Increase" in Demand for Renewables

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Last week, ECOHZ, the Oslo-based renewable energy advocacy and certification organization, committed to changing energy behavior, reported a “staggering increase” in the growth of European renewable power generation.

Based on data from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB), an organization that guarantees the origin of European power, the group reported a second quarter surge of 39% in demand for renewable power. “The YTD figure of 377 TWh is already exceeding the total volume for all of last year.”

Both businesses and residential users are specifying renewable power, an option provided by every supplier, though not the default. While many have installed rooftop panels, the majority remain connected to the grid.

Ten countries were largely responsible for the recent surge. The are shown below with the percentage renewable contribution (in parentheses). Note that these rankings may not include guaranteed renewables. (Based on 2015 data)

  • Romania (24.8)
  • Lithuania (25.8)
  • Portugal (28.0)
  • Estonia (28.6)
  • Croatia (29.0)
  • Denmark (30.8)
  • Austria (33)
  • Latvia (37.6)
  • Finland (39.3)
  • Sweden (53.9)

Sweden, who topped the list, announced that while oil accounted for 75% of their energy supply in 1970, that number has now dropped to roughly 20%. In 2016, the percentage of renewable power grew to 57%. The Swedes have committed to a 100%-renewables based economy, and are on track to meet that goal. Wind power is growing steadily, anchored by a large baseline hydro capacity, and a “high degree of interconnection with neighboring countries,” according to Anne Vadasz Nilsson, Director General of the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate.

Germany, which saw a lull last year, is coming back strong in 2017 and, according to Tom Lindberg, Managing Director of ECOHZ, is on track to exceed 100 TWh this year. For comparison purposes, the US is on track to use 404 TWh for the year in non-hydro renewables, putting the two countries about equal on a per capita basis.

Total demand for green power, says Lindberg “continues to grow – both in more “mature” markets like Germany and Sweden, as well as in newly established markets like Spain.” Spain is a relative newcomer to the renewable party, jumping from 1.9 TWh in 2015 to 21.4 TWh last year.

Looking across Europe the total market, based on the European standard EECS Guarantees of Origin, exceeded 500 TWh for the first time. It is estimated that including countries not using this standard, such as the UK, Poland, and others, would add another 120-180 TWh.

In particular, both wind and biomass more than doubled to nearly 90TWh and 45 TWh respectively. Solar grew to 21.4 TWh.

According to Lindberg, while the market has, in the past, shown signs of strain when surges of new supply came in, the market is now more mature and more stable. “This trend has now been reversed as the price for purchasing renewable energy shows few signs of wavering, with large supply of new solar, wind, bio and hydro entering the market,” says Lindberg.