44 thoughts on “Geography of Europe 2017 – Blog #5

  1. For many here in the U.S., finding and utilizing alternative energy is a choice that can be made. I think of some countries in Europe, like Iceland, where paying for coal, oil, and natural gas is not a smart option for an island that must pay to import everything. Instead, they harness the abundant power of geothermal and hydro-activity to supply their little country with cheap, clean, and efficient electricity and heat. I visited Iceland in the summer of 2015, and was amazed at the natural air, and water quality. I also saw their attempts at growing crops in the warm geothermal heated soils, despite the cold chaotic weather, with the use of glass greenhouses! The bottom left photo is an example of Iceland’s geothermal power plants.
    Great Britain is one of the best examples of harnessing wind power, especially growing the off-shore wind power area. Putting the turbines out to sea cuts down on bird deaths, a common downfall to this power source. Often, when on land, the wind turbines are often called an eye-sore, which is solved by putting wind farms in the water as well. As I understand it, Britain is already reaping the monetary benefits of wind power over coal powered options. An example of this is seen in the bottom right photo.
    An interesting fact I would like to point out about the top right bar graph regards Sweden’s second highest rank and their open social effort. I have read that since the mid 90’s, residents have had the option to choose their power supplier, and therefore it is easy to see how many people will ‘vote with their dollars’, and use alternative energy. Noticing how much of the population is behind alternative power sources makes a serious difference for representatives to begin confident transitions towards clean, renewable energy on a nationwide scale.
    Every European country has a variety of environment, or climate that might spur on new research or effective alternative energy for that country. Those subtle differences can inspire or be embraced by the rest of the world in the movement away from coal, natural gas, and oil.

  2. Europe is on a mission, and they are beating everyone else in the race when it comes to renewable energy. Over the past decade, Europe has increased their renewable energy sources by over 75%, and they are expecting to meet their 2020 goals of having 20% of their total energy consumption to be from renewable resources. They are already at 18%, which is amazing how fast they have developed the industry. Their main source for renewable energy is biofuels, such as wood and waste, followed by hydro-electric power. Over a quarter of Europe’s gross electricity consumption is now powered by renewable energy. But over the last decade, most of the growth in renewable energy resources has been from wind and solar development around the continent. The growth of some of these energies has come to a standstill in some places though, where new policies are limiting the growth of some of these new renewable energies, especially wind power. Poland is the most polluting country in the European union, so one would assume their efforts to develop their renewable energy sector would be the greatest, but you would be wrong in that assumption. Poland is actually so reliant on their coal power that they are passing new policies that are actually destroying their renewable energy efforts rather than helping them. Their wind power industry was experiencing steady growth until a law passed earlier this year banned wind farms on over 99% of Poland’s land, which has effectively killed the promising industry. This is mostly a backlash from the coal companies and those opposed to renewable energies for whatever reason. This is actually an interesting aspect of the European’s efforts to expand their renewable energy output. While some countries are all for it and spending a large amount of funds on greener energy, other countries just aren’t pulling their weight. Countries like Sweden, who have already met their 2020 goal and are actually running on 50% renewable energy, are frustrated with countries like the United Kingdom and Belgium who have the resources to spend but just aren’t paying that much attention to the issue. The European Union actually share a lot of their energy in between countries, and that makes this problem an even bigger headache since some countries are simply refusing to increase their renewable energy sectors. All in all it will be interesting to see how this all plays out, especially as we watch some larger countries begin to have most of their energy resources rely on renewable alternatives. There is also speculation that after this 2020 European goal, we might start to see a backlash towards certain types of renewable energy sources. We have never seen wind and hydro electric power being used on such a large scale, and this might expose some problems whenever these alternatives are used on such a large and widespread scale. Both of these alternatives have also proven to be bad for the wildlife, so it will also be interesting to see what solutions if any that these European countries come up with.

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/04/who-s-the-best-in-europe-when-it-comes-to-renewable-energy/
    http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Renewable_energy_statistics
    http://www.euronews.com/2017/01/20/coal-rich-poland-killing-its-wind-power-sector

  3. Europe has been in search of new ways in which they can help reduce global warming and they have been very successful so far in finding new resources, the EU has a goal; that by 2020, 20% of energy consumption will come from renewable sources. To reach this target each country has set their own renewable target for instance Sweden’s 49% energy consumption will come from renewable sources. Most of the European countries are fighting for a solution that can be implemented worldwide but due to the regions in which each country finds itself in, there are different resources they can benefit from without harming the environment. As seen from the chart Austria is able to receive more energy from water rather than Denmark that receives most of its energy from wind. Not only are the countries interested in reducing the impact of global warming but they are also trying to reduce their dependency on foreign energy imports. In comparison the U.S, 70% of its electricity comes from fossil fuels
    Europe is becoming a sustainable continent they are using resources such as biomass, solar energy, wind power, hydropower and other, which are essential to ensure the future of the world. A great example of the usage of hydro power is Austria, it is the number one country in Europe when using this type of renewable resource. Approximately 65.7% of the electricity usage comes from the hydropower, they have installed over 5200 facilities which have improved their energy efficiency. There are 3 main hydro power technologies; run of river hydropower plants, reservoir hydropower plants and pumped storage plants where water is pumped from lower reservoir to a raised reservoir when electricity supplies raises the demand. The second country that gains their energy from water is Sweden that is then followed by Finland. There are some disadvantages of using hydropower which are creation of flooding and impact of fish migration if they are not mitigated.
    Wind turbines are great power generators that don’t create fossil fuels, don’t produce greenhouse gases or create toxic waste and can generate enough energy to support a household. But there are some disadvantages of using wind power such as; there is always the possibility of birds being killed, it is highly visible which affects the landscape and at the same time it is very loud. Every renewable resources has its pros and cons but it is way more beneficial than harmful. Denmark is the country that is most dependent of wind power, Demarks landscape is so flat and it’s surrounded by water that generating wind power there is very beneficial.
    To conclude, Europe has set a goal to become a sustainable continent and by doing this they have increased their usage and production of renewable resources, it has become a lifestyle for many Europeans to recycle, use more efficiently their way con energy consumption and being more mindful of the environment. The European Union has set a goal for each country and they are doing their best to reduce global warming.

  4. The goal to switch to alternative energy sources in Europe made its presence within the Lisbon Treaty in the year 2000. The Lisbon Treaty (now the Europe 2020) made a goal to develop and grow Europe’s economy to a degree before 2010. Though the goal was not met, a lot of transitions were made within this time frame. The main ideas behind the Treaty focused on sustainability, environmental renewal, and economic influences. Though Europe seemed to have a greater solution for environmental concerns, their focus seemed to originate on the economic gap between the European Union and the U.S. at that time. Therefore, growth within these sectors was to have a similar effect on employment. In the end, as the concern over the release of emissions into the atmosphere and the threat of climate change rises, the EU has implemented various protocols to combat the effects and create a sustainable environment. The transition to renewable energies became a primary concern and a 20 year endeavor by 2010. Over the past decade, most European countries have met their intended target date for 2020 and some, such as Sweden are well on their way of being completely green.

    The Kyoto Protocol, though it went into force in 2005, was initially signed in 1997 by European Community as well as other countries to limit the use of greenhouse gases and its emissions with the hopes of reducing global emissions. By 2001, the same environmental aspects were placed into the Lisbon Treaty. Since these protocols have been put into place, Europe has seen a fast paced increase in terms of their renewable energy production. By 2020, a fifth of all energy consumption in EU member countries must come from renewable sources. The renewable energy sources include hydro power, geothermal, biofuels, and solar. Hydro power alone makes up ” 14% of Europe’s total energy production. By increasing their renewable energy production, the EU is driving the need for more innovation and increasing employment across the member states. ”

    Though the 2010 goal was not met, the 2020 goal was set at a 20% consumption. The countries themselves have targets of their own and at least 10% of their energy targets has to come from renewable energy. Currently, countries like Sweden are experiencing rapid increases in their renewable energy consumption. In 2016, Sweden reached a percentage of 57% in renewable energy with an expectation to run entirely on the resources before 2050. Other countries Luxembourg and Malta are at the opposite end of the spectrum, producing the least amount of renewable energy of around 5%. This could be attributed to the fact that their goals are only situated at 10%, however, Luxembourg does have plans to have an economy based on 100% renewable energy by 2050. Their method of doing this is more digital compared to others, hoping for a complete renewal of their digital infrastructure. They hope that by doing this, they increase productivity and clean energy consumption. Overall, the EU has doubled its consumption in renewable energy since 2004.

    1. Pardon Our Interruption. Accessed November 27, 2017. http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2009/05/hydropower-in-europe.html.

    2. ”Renewable energy in Europe 2016 – Recent growth and knock-on effects.” European Environment Agency. August 31, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2017. https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/renewable-energy-in-europe-2016.

    Much of the last paragraph comes from statistics within the second source provided.

  5. Countries of the European Union are some of the top global leaders in implementation and usage of forms of alternative and renewable energy. One of the catalysts for this occurring is emphasis in the Maastricht Treaty calling for the promotion of stable growth while protecting the environment. While this did not lay out any specific requirements or even goals, it set the attitude for the EU to be environmental conscience and seek out potential ways to replace traditional fossil fuels. However, in 2004, the European Conference for Renewable Energy in Berlin defined goals for the EU to obtain 20% of its total energy consumption through renewable means by 2020. This did not delegate specific requirements on contributions for individual member states as long as total EU wide production was at least at 20%. Amendments have since been made to mandate half of the 20% floor be associated with transportation and that each member state has certain responsibilities. Push back on this has come from eastern European and central European countries in an attempt to either lower the standard or postpone the deadline to meet current requirements as they believe their infrastructure and energy supplies are not yet capable of reaching the abilities of western European countries. The main areas of renewable energy that are seen across Europe are bio energy (both biofuel and geothermal), wind, solar, hydrogen, and wave power. Some of these are unavailable to implementation in several places such as wave power in Austria or the Czech Republic as they are landlocked countries, but inability to use one of these has not prevented countries like the aforementioned to try their best at using renewable sources of energy. Germany is one of the leading EU members in achieving heavy reliance on renewable energy sources. As a large country in land mass and having access to oceans, river, and plains, many options exists for the nation to foster energy. Germany leads the EU in production and usage in both biofuels and wind energy and is second in solar only to the United Kingdom. Out of all the previously listed renewable energy sources, wave energy is the most infant and the most likely to grow in the upcoming years. The idea of wave power for energy was first tested for commercial use in Europe off the coast of Scotland and then a year later in the seas off of Portugal. Several articles claimed that Scotland has the most tremendous capacity for renewable energy success citing its potential for tidal and wave power. The Scottish government has actually set goals for the nation to obtain 50% of its power through renewable sources by 2015 and 100% by 2020. As Europe has shown to be a later in renewable energy development, there have been some questions as to the efficiency of the new path to power the continent citing increased energy costs and the more often occurrence of blackouts in Germany (the largest user of renewable energy by EU members) as whether or not it is sustainable on such a large scale.

    http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Business/TrenRenEnergy
    http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7155577/8-10022016-AP-EN.pdf/38bf822f-8adf-4e54-b9c6-87b342ead339

  6. Jaylan Cline
    The use of alternate energy in Europe has worked out well; which indeed should set an example for different places like the U.S. The reason why it’s worked so well, and shown lots of development between the periods of 2004 to 2015 because it’s very well organized under the Eu’s rules/regulations on how it’s being governed. You must factor in the expanses for certain equipment, and the location for such things to be distributed. For example, the Eu passed legislations/policies for how the energy is going to be available to all countries that is under the Eu. Secondly, they set goals in which they delivered a plan on exactly when and how they will make Europe a sustainable environment by 2020.
    The best perk about the development of alternate energy is that its renewable energy, meaning that most of the sources of energy is coming from things such as: wood, biofuel, geothermal, hydro power, windmills, and solar panel energy etc… juxtapose, with affordable production and distributing to other poor countries like Poland and Southern Italy. Another great perk for using natural sources is that it maintains a healthy environment. Unlike others, who uses fossil fuels in which theoretically leads to unfortunate events such as the “carbon foot print“which in the end affects everyone.
    As I mentioned before, the Eu has done great things for the sustainability in Europe partially due from its legal framework, so according to the article by Silva Micheli the Eu came up with a proposal for their goal to be reached by 2020, was to implement the 20-20-20 climate package which was a policy that focused on the integration of energy, and to cut the emissions for the 21st century in favor for an low energy consumption continent and more competitive economy because they still want the free movement of capital to stay at large. The EU made a new set of goals in 2007 they made it clear that they wanted to become a place that’s a low carbon, and high energy sufficient driven continent. Ultimately, by 2030 or 2050 they want to reduce the admission of CO2 that is manmade. The dates seem far from present day, but that’s good for the EU, because it gives them more time to come up with new ideas. Also, it gives them time to reevaluate their mistakes with budgeting if there is problem that should occur but most importantly, technology with improve because in even with a well-organized plan by the government this can’t happen without the technology. Europe is well on track with its transparent platform with in improving rate of 16% in year of 2016. Europe is doing so well with its alternate energy driven platforms because they are planning well. The support the European union is getting is amazing as well, and maybe one of the deciding factors on if the 20-20-20 climate change works or not. The problem I see in near future is funding Europe has some of the lowest populations as far as dealing with countries.

    http https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/renewable-energy://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Renewable_energy_statistics
    https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=4hqABwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&ots=6MGxn9ftNe&sig=nN2mxnUUtqMCgHnGRIiXIujyGnI#v=onepage&q&f=false

  7. Energy production in Europe is one of the most pressing topics that the continent faces today. Multiple issues arise in the form of environmental preservation, economic frivolity, and political dealings, meanwhile, the big-ticket solution within all of this is the struggle to produce alternative energy. Alternative energy most often refers to sources of energy that seeks to move away from the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and other non-renewable resources. As Europe grows in population and consumption, the increasing scarcity of non-renewable resources, particularly in the EU, is forcing countries to invest in alternative energy. It is, however, important to note that the rate at which alternative energy is used varies greatly on the wealth of each individual country. Since the 1970s Europe has seen the rise of alternative energy and environmentally friend Green Parties spring up leading Europe into a new age of energy production.
    Nuclear energy is one such source of alternative energy used in Europe. Although Uranium is considered to be a non-renewable resource, it has been used in opposition to fossil fuels. This fact and the high risk/expense of dealing with nuclear waste along with political pressure have led to the gradual phasing out of nuclear programs in Europe. Regardless of that, nuclear power production still accounts for 29% of the energy produced in Europe today making it the most produced form of energy from the continent. As an example, while a substantial portion of German energy produced yearly is nuclear, environmentally friendly policies and events like Chernobyl (which had a direct radiation effect on Germany) now push the country towards a policy of dismantling and phasing out its remaining nuclear facilities.
    The main focus on alternative energy in Europe centers on the development and large-scale use of clean renewable resources. With Europe’s ever-growing energy needs they can either become increasingly dependent on importing resources from countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia or find a cheap sustainable source. This list of alternatives includes wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal sources of power and all are being used and developed more and more each year. Wind power tends to have the most prevalence across the region (around 10% of overall energy produced), you know…. because every country has wind. The unsightliness of air turbines to many Europeans has led to the research and installation of sea-based wind turbines. Based mostly in the North Sea, these offshore wind turbines can potentially do great things for the future of clean renewable energy. Solar panels can be seen installed everywhere in many of the more developed countries from farms to city rooftops. Hydro-electric and geothermal energy are extremely effective sources of energy in Europe, however, they depend entirely on geographic settings that are usually unchangeable. Innovations such as wave power have made it easier for coastal countries to get in on the hydro-electric power train, however. Iceland is one of the supreme examples of alternative energy. With its low population and high geothermal activity, all non-vehicle related power needed in the country is provided by the highly sustainable resource (approx. 75%) while the remaining 25% of energy is gained through oil imports for the country’s vehicle needs. There are measures being worked on today to one day make Iceland 100% renewable energy.
    Europe is far from making alternative clean renewable energy a majority of its energy output, but its efforts within the last 40 years have been substantial, giving hope that this may someday be a reality.

  8. Alternative and renewable energy sources are already a critical part of European energy production and consumption. As traditional sources of energy, particularly fossil fuels and coal, become less practical energy sources, Europe’s investment in renewable energy sources will only continue to grow and develop. Though the region is home to relatively large reserves of natural gas, coal, and even oil, it is still dependent on external and often unreliable suppliers. Additionally, the European Union has emphasized responsible energy production in an effort to repair the damage caused by both the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent decades of lax environmental regulation.

    In the postwar period, several major European states turned to nuclear power. The United Kingdom and France developed strong nuclear power programs that persist to the present. France’s embrace of nuclear power produces over 70% of its energy needs, and their 59 nuclear plants even export €1 billion of power annually. Other states, like Germany, Belgium, and Sweden, have already wound down most of their nuclear power production or have already phased it out entirely. While the plants had solid safety records and produced substantial amounts of power, the resulting waste products could not be ethically disposed of. Leftist coalitions, often spurred on by Green Party coalition members, pushed hard to end these programs. France and the UK, lacking in strong Green movements, persist despite the waste.

    Oil, gas, and coal have been consistent sources of power for much of Europe’s recent industrial past. Coal fueled the Industrial Revolution, while oil and gas are responsible for much of the region’s heating and transport. However, oil and gas are both unreliably sourced and environmentally irresponsible. Personal transport represents the largest share of Europe’s power consumption and is almost entirely fueled by petrochemicals. Reducing the continent’s carbon output could easily come about by promoting new fuel sources. Gas, while also a pollutant, is subject to the state of EU-Russian relations, as most European gas consumption comes from Russian owned pipelines.

    Renewable energies are slowly rising to the challenge of meeting Europe’s energy needs. Over 22% of Europe’s energy consumption is already renewable, and certain regions push that level even higher. Thanks to EU programs designed to promote efficiency, metrics like KGOE/€1000 (kilograms of energy used per €1000 of GDP of production), and favorable tax policies, responsible energy use and production is a priority across the continent. In windy Northern Europe, wind produces up to 21% of power as it does in Denmark. Solar production is more efficient in the south, but localized solar installations now supplement many northern European homes. While the continent and the UK take long strides towards clean production, Iceland has already arrived. 75% of the island state’s energy consumption is renewable, driven by strong investment in the state’s latent geothermal resources. The remaining 25%, created by gas fueled cars and trucks, will soon be taken over by renewable sources as well; Iceland is actively working towards totally renewable energy consumption. While the rest of the EU will not likely catch up anytime soon, Iceland’s model will undoubtedly inform and inspire the rest of the continent to improve their use of renewable resources.

  9. As the industrial revolution began in the late 1700s, energy became revolutionary to the way of human life. The most popular form of energy has been fossil fuels, which are non-renewable energy sources such as natural gas and coal. However, over time, it has become evident that the over-use of these resources has negative effects on planet earth. So, certain countries are making efforts to use alternative energy sources in order to benefit the well-being of the planet. Some of these alternative sources include: biomass, wind, hydro, geothermal, and solar energy.

    The European Union is the second global leader in the use of renewable energy. This has two main benefits; reducing their dependence on foreign energy imports as well as combatting climate change. Over the years, the European Union has introduced a number of different policies concerning energy. The Maastricht Treaty included objectives that included protection of the environment. The Amsterdam Treaty introduced sustainable development to the European Union’s objectives. The EU created a series of ambitious goals in 2004 at the European Conference for Renewable Energy in Berlin. They set a goal to obtain 20% of their total energy consumption from renewable resources. By 2015, most EU countries were significantly close to their goals. A few countries had even surpassed their goals.

    Renewable resources now account for 27% of the energy production in the European Union. Britain now produces an equal amount of energy from oil and renewable resources. With the efforts to increase energy production through renewable resources, other industries have started to decline. The use of coal is significantly decreasing throughout the European Union, with the exception of Poland.

    There has also been a lot going on with nuclear energy in Europe as well. As of 2016, there were still 186 nuclear power plants throughout Europe. The EU currently relies on nuclear power for more than one-quarter of its electricity. However, with nuclear power plants comes extreme risks. While Europe has never seen a major power plant accident, with the exception of Chernobyl which was Soviet at the time, it is important to be aware that this is a risks that they face. Nuclear accidents can have deadly consequences, such as radiation that can lead to cancer. And, even with proper precautions being taken, accidents are not inevitable. The 2011 9.0 earthquake and consequent tsunami in Fukushima, Japan lead to issues at the power plant which exposed over 100 workers to dangerous levels of radiation. Furthermore, there is also the issue of disposal. There is currently no safe way to dispose of nuclear waste. So, in order to avoid possible dangerous incidents, nuclear power is slowly being phased out, particularly in countries such as Germany, Belgium and Sweden. However, France is still home to 59 power plants. Nuclear power currently accounts for 78% of their electricity produced and creates a revenue of around 3 billion euros each year.

    Europe is making serious efforts to become environmentally friendly. Many environmental friendly ways to create energy are now being used. Solar power and Wind power are extremely popular, among others. By keeping along this path, the European Union will be able to further reduce their use of non-renewable resources and see the benefits of alternative energy sources.

  10. In Europe, they produce and use so much energy, in multiple differing ways. Twenty-nine percent of their energy usage is Nuclear power. Then they use twenty-two percent of solid energy, things like coal. Twenty-one percent is gas, fourteen percent is oil, and only fourteen percent in renewable energy. European countries are realizing that, for a number of different reasons, they’re going to have to start using renewable energy instead of things like oil, gas and nuclear power. There are too many threats associated with non-renewable power to continue to use it until it runs out. However, it is a slow process to change this.
    Coal is still widely used by many in Europe. There are two ways to mine coal: strip mining, which is stripping the top layer of ground off of the coal and replacing it once the coal is retrieved, and also deep mining which is what most people assume how we get coal. It is very hazardous. Coal has caused a lot of environmental issues though. There have been towns called “black towns” because they are literally the color black. Everything is covered in coal dust and this has many negative effects. Not only is it an eye sore, it is toxic to inhale, and it can cause acid rain. Acid rain can erode buildings, roads, signs, any kind of infrastructure but it can also seep into our soil and kill certain trees, which then release more gas into the atmosphere. Europeans are not large oil producers but they do have some oil rigs in the North Sea. Gas is less of a carbon dioxide threat, but still has a negative impact on the atmosphere. Nuclear power is a huge thing for some countries in Europe, specifically France. They have 59 power plans and these generate 78% of their electric. The production of this sort of power is not harmful, it is the disposal of the nuclear waste. There is nowhere to put it and nothing to do with it and it is very toxic and harmful.
    These reasons create a big push towards alternative and many European countries are adopting these techniques and are on their way to becoming self-sufficient. There are a few different types: wind, hydro, and solar power. There have been giant improvements in these areas and some countries, such as Scotland and Germany have gone entire weekends powering their countries solely on renewable energy. Innovations are being made with solar power- you can get solar tiles now instead of panels that are easier to put on your roof, cheaper, and can still create power on cloudy days without sunlight. There are also innovations being made with wind power; some countries have made giant platforms with big wind mills and floating them out miles off of a coast into the ocean where the wind is intense and constant. They connect these platforms to shore via cable and create energy this way. Hydrogen is being tested out to power cars instead of gas, but it could potentially be cut off due to more efficient ways of creating power. Lastly, wave and tidal power are starting to be looked at. In some countries, such as Portugal, large machines are being placed in the ocean to create energy off of the waves. Europe as a whole is making big steps towards a smaller carbon foot print and more reliable sources or renewable, and environmentally friendly, energy.

  11. As tensions continue to rise regarding the eminent destruction of climate change, the world is in a race against time to find solutions to our dependence on nonrenewable energy sources. In addition to Asia, the European countries have made great strides to reduce their carbon footprint and create a society than can thrive on renewable and alternative energy. Renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power, hydro power, tidal power, geothermal energy, biofuels, and the renewable part of waste. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the growth of a renewable energy market potentially offers new employment for residents in the European Union.

    Regarding advancements in renewable energy, the European Union as a whole has worked to improve its capacity to adapt without relying on fossil fuels. In fact, by 2020, a fifth of all energy consumption in European Union member countries must come from renewable sources – biomass, wind, hydro, etc. The EU wind industry has had a compound annual growth rate of 10% between 2000 and 2013, and in 2014 alone the increase of installations which produced wind power created a new power capacity of 32%. According to the European Environment Agency report, wind energy could be the key to achieving the European renewable energy targets. The European continent has wind farms all throughout its borders, including offshore wind turbines near Copenhagen, and wind farms in Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, and more. Following pressure from the scientific community, more and more countries are implementing strategies to reduce emissions.

    Moreover, many countries have issued statements detailing their plans for reducing their carbon footprint. Earlier this year, France stated that by 2040 gas and diesel cars will no longer be sold in an attempt to meet air quality and climate change goals. Britain quickly followed with a statement claiming to enact the same goals, and more ambitious countries, such as Norway, intend to sell only electric cars from 2025. When these efforts are combined with the encouragement of other methods of transportation, such as public transport and cycling, it is hard to imagine that Europe will not see a reduction of reliance on fossil fuels.

    An excellent example of a country utilizing renewable energy sources is Iceland. Iceland is the only country in the world which obtains 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable sources, relying solely on hydro-power and geothermal power. Although Iceland maintains oil powered fossil fuel power stations, they are strictly used as backups to the renewable sources. Granted, Iceland is a bit of an exception given that it is a highly volcanic island, allowing for the conversion of geothermal energy within it’s own borders. In addition, the glaciers and mountains of Iceland’s interior are perfect for the generation of hydro electric energy. The isolation of Iceland forced innovation regarding alternative sources of energy.

  12. Currently, Europe produces 890 million tonnes of oil, which makes up 14% of their energy production. Britain is Europe’s leading producer of oil, producing 22% or 201 million tonnes of oil. The leading source of energy in Europe is nuclear energy. France is the leading producer of nuclear energy. Nuclear energy itself is sustainable, however, the problem is the storage of what is left over from producing nuclear energy, which is toxic waste.
    To create nuclear energy, Europe imports 97% of their uranium, most of which comes from western or central Africa. Importing goods to create energy is another reason Europe is so headstrong about finding sources of renewable energy because they currently import 53% of their natural gas through pipelines from Russia. Russia and Europe have a very rocky history that makes this dangerous since they are made vulnerable to Russia.
    The vulnerability and unstable resources are extreme reasons that Europe wants to run on renewable resources that they can source themselves. Europe is described as a peninsula of peninsulas, and is made up of some of the oldest rock formations on Earth as well as some of the newest. Most of Europe is not rich in nonrenewable resources that most of the world uses to create energy so they are on the path to utilize their natural, renewable resources such as solar, wind, and water power for their energy sources.
    When you think of renewable energy in the world, you will probably think of Iceland. Iceland gets 75% of its consumed energy from renewable sources. It is a leader throughout the world for running on renewable resources, but its unique situation of geography and placement aid heavily in this ranking. The island is powered namely by geothermal energy, which works for them because it is volcanic and sits over geothermal pockets in the ocean.
    Europe itself, as of 2010, is consuming 22% of their energy from renewable resources and 15% of the energy they are producing is renewable. Of the aforementioned energy, 3.5% of that comes from wind energy which is created in wind fields all across the country. Denmark is responsible for creating the most of that wind energy, producing 21% of it. Germany is regularly producing 22,000 megawatts of wind energy. Europe, much like most of the world, still heavily relies on nonrenewable resources to supplement their energy, but they are on the fast track working to find options that are better on the environment and more reliable for long term use. Since Europe is surrounded by water, many scientists jump to using hydrogen power as a stable source of energy. The problem with using hydrogen is that you must take water molecules and separate the hydrogen from the oxygen, which requires energy to divide the molecular bond. If the energy you are using is not coming from a renewable source, it ends up defeating the purpose of using the alternative energy source at all.
    Europe appears to have the most active Green Party within their politics that are fighting for environmental issues. I truly believe that having people in politics that contribute to fighting for environmental issues is one of the leading reasons that they are advancing so far ahead of other nations in the world, America included.

  13. Europe is one of the world’s leaders in alternative energy innovation. The industrial revolution started in Europe, so European countries have had more time to develop toward using renewable energy sources. They have seen first hand the negative effects of pollution after a century of using carbon based energy. Europe also has a high population density so the impetus to develop alternative energy sources has been critical. Many European countries also have the money and resources to develop and implement renewable energy. In many ways, the development of Europe as one of the leading world regions in moving toward alternative energy has a lot to do with geopolitical forces. For example, in 1900, France commissioned a diesel engine to be run on peanut oil as a potential cheap fuel for their African colonies. The motivations to shift toward alternative energy have been and are currently manifold.
    As a major economic and political assemblage, the EU has several motivations to pass environmental regulations that require the implementation of alternative energy. With the threat of climate change, changes to the weather patterns in Europe can have adverse effects for its economies, especially when it comes to agriculture. Preparing with alternative energy can help in preparedness for food shortages, droughts, or flooding. Besides all the obvious environmental and public health reasons for Europe’s move toward alternative energy, there are also economic advantages to making the move toward alternative energy. There will be less of a dependence on fossil fuels from politically unstable countries and therefore less of a fluctuation in prices for goods and services. Alternative energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal can offer stability because the supply of energy can be constant and sustained. If Europe’s main aim is to prosper economically, then it’s no wonder that so many European countries are committing to alternative energy. In fact, because of the EUs consolidated power and environmental regulations, many European countries have had to make plans to reduce their carbon emissions because of regulatory pressure.
    Countries like Sweden and Denmark have led the way in the region by making plans to eliminate all of its fossil fuel usage. Scotland has had a surge in wind power that had the capacity to power 97% of its household’s needs in 2015. Germany set a national record in 2015 of providing up to 78% of a day’s electricity demand from solar panels in the south and wind turbines in the north. In 2010, 50% of Portugal’s yearly energy consumption was produced from alternative energy sources. In 2005, Spain became the first country in the world to require solar powered systems to be installed in new buildings. Although some European countries have been moving toward using water energy, this is nothing new as Europeans have been known to use water energy to power mills for centuries. And of course, the Dutch are famous for their wind mills which they developed and perfected by the sixteenth century. Places like the Netherlands have had to really lead the way in developing alternative energy because of their location and the historic threat of inundation. The steam engine was developed in England at the beginning of 18th century with the intent to harness the power of coal, but in France, the first solar powered motor to produce steam to power machinery was developed a century later because of fears that coal would eventually run out. In short, Europe has a long-standing history of using alternative energy and concerns for using non-renewable energy sources.

    https://alternativeenergy.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000015
    https://www.environmentalscience.org/renewable-energy
    https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/11-countries-leading-the-charge-on-renewable-energy
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_the_European_Union
    https://energy.gov/articles/previewing-2011-renewable-energy-data-book

  14. The 1970s served as a wakeup call to Europe when it came to reliance on fossil fuels, most notably oil. In response to the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Iranian Revolution of 1979, caused the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to put an embargo on oil exports to Europe and America. The economies of both suffered as a result as gas prices and energy costs skyrocketed. As we move further into the 21st century, questions regarding fossil fuels, environmentalism, and alternative energy have become more present than ever. Just last year, US President Donald Trump’s decision to remove American from the Paris accords was met with outrage from nearly every European leader. Europe as a whole is much less reliant on fossil fuels than most of the world, including America.

    While the EU would like to have all its members on equal footing when it came to renewable energy, there is still a large amount of disparity due to geographic conditions. In Austria and Sweden at least three fifths of all the electricity consumed was generated from renewable energy sources, largely due to the strong presence of hydro power and biofuels. On the other hand, in Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, and Luxembourg the share of electricity generated from renewable sources was less than 10% in 2015. Typically, the more developed the state, the higher percentage, which makes Luxembourg’s inclusion at the bottom of the list surprising, but when you consider its size it makes sense to import much of its power. To combat the disparity, the EU has instituted goals for 2020 regarding the percentage of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption. Numerous states have already achieved their target as of 2015, with Sweden leading the pack at more than 50%. The EU’s target is 20%, and many estimates believe that this will be reached by the projected year, if not a year early.

    Not only has Europe already taken a lead in establishing alternative energy, technology, and infrastructure, it is continuing to do so. Almost 90% of new power sources in Europe came from renewable sources in 2016. Of the 24.5GW of new energy capacity built across the EU in 2016, 21.1GW was from wind, solar, biomass and hydro, eclipsing the previous high-water mark of 79% in 2014. Along with these advances, wind power overtook coal to become the EU’s second largest form of power capacity only after natural gas. The use of natural gas is an interesting case because of its geopolitical position. The EU imports 53% of its natural gas with a massive chunk of this coming from Russia. Recent strained relations with Russia over the Crimean Crisis have made the EU concerned with how much they rely on Russian gas and this has fueled the quest for alternative energy. Germany’s eastern proximity to Russia makes them extra reliant, but in 2016 they installed 44% of Europe’s new wind turbines, paving the way towards wind power’s ascendance on the continent.

    Sources:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/09/new-energy-europe-renewable-sources-2016
    http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Renewable_energy_statistics

  15. Europe is the world leader in renewable energy. The European Union has planned to cut its energy consumption by 20% by the year 2020. The European Union has already made impressive shifts from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources such as solar energy, wind power, hydropower, and biofuels. Some information shows that the level of energy consumption in the EU is at the same level as it was at in 1990 despite having a 33.3 million people increase in population. The EU also relies on renewable energy sources like geothermal energy, hydro power, and tidal power. The use of renewable energy has greatly reduced the production of greenhouse gasses, and has cut down the dependency on fossil fuels and has lead to a decrease in the consumption of gas and oil. Renewable energy consumption in the European Union has almost doubled from 2004 where it was at 8.5% to 2015 where it was at around 16.7%. The quantity of renewable energy produced in the EU between 2005 and 2015 increased in total by 70.2%, which is an average of 5.5% every year. Among the renewable energies, the most important form was the biofuels, such as wood, and renewable waste, which accounted for about 44% of the total resources used. Then came Hydro power which accounted for about 14% of the total, then wind power making up about 12.7% of the total, and then solar power making up around 6%. The European Union is also aiming to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% below the 1990 levels by the year 2050.
    The European Union’s renewable energy directive set a binding target of 20% final energy consumptions from renewable energy by 2020. To help achieve this goal the EU countries have committed to reaching their own renewable targets that range from 10% in Malta to 49% in Sweden. The countries are also required to have at least 10% of their transportation fuel come from renewable resources by the year 2020. Every two years the EU publishes a renewable energy report. According to the report released 2017, in the year 2014, the European Union as a whole achieved a 16% share of renewable energy and about a 16.4% share in 2015. With these numbers the countries of the European Union are said to be well on track to reach their 2020 binding targets for renewable energy.
    There are many ways the EU is encouraging and helping its members. For example, power companies in the UK are investing millions of pounds into renewable power like wind. In 2010 the world’s largest offshore windfarm was opened in Thanet, on the Thames estuary. There are also incentives to try to conserve energy, for example, there are grants that are available to help make homes more energy efficient.
    Iceland is a country in the EU that is thriving off renewable energy. In fact, about 81% of the entire country’s’ energy comes from renewable energy. Iceland sits on hotspots and mantle plumes which makes it a perfect place to tap into and harness the earth’s geothermal energy. The heat that is generated from tapping into geothermal energy is enough to heat about 90% of the houses in Iceland, 9% of the remaining homes are heated from electric heating systems, and only 1% is heated using fossil fuel energy. In 2007, geothermal energy met 66% of the total primary energy demand in Iceland, hydropower fulfilled 15% of total energy demand, and petroleum contributed 19% of the total energy demand.

  16. The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, has taken powerful and long-lasting steps forward in terms of alternative energies. In December of 2008, they adopted the 2020 climate and energy package which set three key targets for the members of the European Union: 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions, 20 percent of EU energy coming from renewable sources, and 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency. As a part of the package, the EU also set out that renewable energy sources need to account for 10% in the transport sector by 2020 as well. There are also conditions built in that outline sustainability criteria for biofuels in order to limit potential adverse effects on forest protection and biodiversity as well as water and ground conditions. Ultimately, these goals would be a major shift in energy practices across Europe. Not only would they help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but they would also usher a large population into more secure and rapidly evolving renewable energy world which would set a global example for fossil fuel holdouts.

    In the 2015 Eurostat report on renewable energy in the EU, they found that up to 16.7% of the gross final energy consumption came from renewable sources. Compared to just 8.5% in 2004, the EU has nearly doubled their integration of renewable energies into their infrastructure. Overall, the quantity of renewable energy in the EU has increased by 70.2% between 2005 and 2015. Of these renewable energies, the most important remains wood, renewable waste, and other solid biofuels. They make up 44% of renewables in 2015. The second most productive energy source was hydro-power which accounts for 14.4% of renewable energy followed by wind power at 12.7%, solar power at 6.4%, and geothermal energy at 3.2%. While tide, wave, and ocean energy production is a productive force in renewable energy, that technology is principally found in the UK and France and not across the EU.

    By a very wide margin, Sweden is the EU leader in renewable energy dependence. In 2015, renewable energies made up 53.9% of Sweden’s gross energy consumption. They are the only EU member to have more than half of their energy coming from renewable sources. Following Sweden, Finland came in at 39.3% and was followed by Latvia, Austria, and Denmark. On the other end of the spectrum, the EU member with the lowest integration of renewable energies were Luxemburg and Malta which both measured out to around 5% each in gross energy use. Also measuring very low in renewable energy integration was the United Kingdom with only 8.2% of energy coming from renewable sources. However, with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union by the time the 2020 deadline rolls around, it is very unlikely they will course correct in the next 2 years. It would be wonderful if they continued to pursue integration of renewable energies beyond their exit from the EU because of the obvious environmental and economic benefits but that will remain to be seen.

  17. Europe has placed a lot of priority over the development of renewable energy sources, especially since the European Union was formed. They are doing everything in their power to reduce the use of non-renewable resources like oil, nuclear energy, coal, etc- which often have more consequences than just being non-renewable, such as air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, acid rain, etc. Things such as acid rain can have a profound effect on European cities, especially those that have a lot of ancient monuments or statues that become eroded with the rain. However, the infrastructure of buildings and other things can be highly affected as well. Along with this, as the availability of natural resources ever decreases, there needs to be steps taken to create reliable, efficient renewable energy sources grows and grows. The aim is to be at 20% use of renewable energy sources to provide the energy needed to run the EU by 2020- and they are beginning to get very close, as many of the European Union member countries are getting close to, if not over, their target goals.
    The EU is handling this through several different types of renewable energy- wind, solar, wave, geothermal, etc. Wind power is extremely efficient, especially in towns that are built where all of the roofs have their own small wind harvesters, which can pretty much power the townhouse/apartment itself. Along with this, windmill farms are being placed out in the ocean on giant floating platforms, attached to a cable that connects it to the mainland. There are some cities that can produce most of their energy through this method. Another form is through solar power, which is being achieved not through giant solar fields, but through small solar roof tiles and personal solar panels, a lot of the inventions thought up by Elon Musk.
    The European Union has gotten to the point where its countries rank as the second best in the world for renewable energy. This has allowed Europe to begin saving money on foreign imports for energy and is heavily fighting global warming through less harmful emissions. Europe has a progressive stance on the issue, and is even fighting to have the first ever 100% renewable energy ran country- Iceland, which is currently at 75% renewable run-, complete with hydrogen gas stations. Though, Iceland does not use very much public transport. The input of public transportation has been good in helping mainland Europe’s effect on the environment.
    The European Union is offering many incentives for the member countries to use renewable energy sources- and it is working. Almost every country in the EU has seen a significant rise in renewable energy usage. The best ranked country for renewable energy (other than Iceland) is Denmark, with a score of 125. Meanwhile, the US is at a 300. The lower the number, the better the ranking. On top of this, a lot of the European countries have green parties that though they don’t hold a lot of power, they are really beginning to be more significant and really show up with their policies on energy sourcing.

  18. Europe has placed a lot of priority over the development of renewable energy sources, especially since the European Union was formed. They are doing everything in their power to reduce the use of non-renewable resources like oil, nuclear energy, coal, etc- which often have more consequences than just being non-renewable, such as air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, acid rain, etc. Things such as acid rain can have a profound effect on European cities, especially those that have a lot of ancient monuments or statues that become eroded with the rain. However, the infrastructure of buildings and other things can be highly affected as well. Along with this, as the availability of natural resources ever decreases, there needs to be steps taken to create reliable, efficient renewable energy sources grows and grows. The aim is to be at 20% use of renewable energy sources to provide the energy needed to run the EU by 2020- and they are beginning to get very close, as many of the European Union member countries are getting close to, if not over, their target goals.
    The EU is handling this through several different types of renewable energy- wind, solar, wave, geothermal, etc. Wind power is extremely efficient, especially in towns that are built where all of the roofs have their own small wind harvesters, which can pretty much power the townhouse/apartment itself. Along with this, windmill farms are being placed out in the ocean on giant floating platforms, attached to a cable that connects it to the mainland. There are some cities that can produce most of their energy through this method. Another form is through solar power, which is being achieved not through giant solar fields, but through small solar roof tiles and personal solar panels, a lot of the inventions thought up by Elon Musk.
    The European Union has gotten to the point where its countries rank as the second best in the world for renewable energy. This has allowed Europe to begin saving money on foreign imports for energy and is heavily fighting global warming through less harmful emissions. Europe has a progressive stance on the issue, and is even fighting to have the first ever 100% renewable energy ran country- Iceland, which is currently at 75% renewable run-, complete with hydrogen gas stations. Though, Iceland does not use very much public transport. The input of public transportation has been good in helping mainland Europe’s effect on the environment.
    The European Union is offering many incentives for the member countries to use renewable energy sources- and it is working. Almost every country in the EU has seen a significant rise in renewable energy usage. The best ranked country for renewable energy (other than Iceland) is Denmark, with a score of 125. Meanwhile, the US is at a 300. The lower the number, the better the ranking. On top of this, a lot of the European countries have green parties that though they don’t hold a lot of power, they are really beginning to be more significant and really show up with their policies on energy sourcing.

  19. Energy is one of the main challenges Europe is facing. The prospects of rising energy prices and increasing dependence on imports could jeopardise the economy as a whole. EU countries are free to develop whatever energy sources they wish. They must, however, take account of the EU renewable energy objectives. The European Union is implementing energy policies geared towards: securing Europe’s energy supply; ensuring that energy prices do not make Europe less competitive and energy remain affordable for consumers; protecting the environment and in particular combating climate change; improving energy infrastructure, such as energy grids. Addressing climate change requires a globally coordinated, long-term response across all economic sectors. The 2015 Paris Agreement provides the framework for limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and for pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Early in this process, the European Union has adopted ambitious and binding climate and energy targets for 2020 and 2030. Member States have set the strategic objective of building an Energy Union, which aims to provide affordable, secure and sustainable energy (European Council, 2014) and which has a forward‑looking climate policy at its core (European Council, 2015). The most recent package of legislative measures, adopted by the European Commission in November 2016, aims to consolidate and match national climate and energy efforts, and facilitate the delivery of the 2030 targets for climate, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources (RES).
    Out of Europe as a whole, Scandinavian countries are Europe’s leaders when it comes to renewable energy, with Sweden and Norway performing the best. More than half of Norway and Sweden’s energy consumption now comes from renewable sources – ten times the proportion in the UK.
    According to an article in the guardian done in March of this year, an international power grid is gradually developing, using power interconnectors to trade surplus energy across national electricity networks, allowing big wind power producers in northern Europe, for example, to trade electricity with large solar energy generators in southern Europe. The UK has already plugged into the network through interconnectors to Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, and there is a proposal for a highly ambitious project to connect Britain to Iceland’s abundant supply of geothermal and hydroelectric power using a subsea cable around 1,000km long.
    This international power grid gives more reliable supplies, helping to smooth out the intermittent power produced from renewables such as wind and solar energy. It also gives Britain more secure power sources as old nuclear and out-of-favour coal plants are shut down. In theory, it could even bring the wholesale energy price down, thanks to the increased availability of cheap renewable power generated far away from where the main energy demand centres are.
    According to another Guardian article, for the first time wind farms accounted for more than half of the capacity installed, the data from trade body Wind Europe showed. Wind power overtook coal to become the EU’s second largest form of power capacity after gas, though due to the technology’s intermittent nature, coal still meets more of the bloc’s electricity demand. Germany installed the most new wind capacity in 2016, while France, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania all set new records for wind farm installations. Despite Europe’s installed wind power capacity now standing at 153.7GW, it is still a relatively small fraction of the region’s 918.8GW of total power capacity. The industry is hoping much of its growth will come from filling the gap as governments force old coal power plants to close to meet climate change goals, as the UK has committed to doing by 2025.

    References:
    https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/renewable-energy-in-europe-2017
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/09/new-energy-europe-renewable-sources-2016
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/16/europes-renewable-energy-revolution-weatherwatch
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/renewableenergy/12021449/Renewable-energy-in-the-EU-Which-countries-are-using-the-most-renewable-energy.html
    http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/energy

  20. Energy is and always will be a chief concern. For most of modern and industrial society, the primary source of energy has been fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gasoline. These forms of energy have several limits and drawbacks. They are limited in quantity, can be difficult to access and acquire, and are very polluting. The pollution crisis is not a new one, as these fuels have done significant damage to the planet since commercial usage in the 19th century. Issues such as acid rain, global warming, and wildlife endangerment stem from energy pollution. This problem exists globally, however not everyone is addressing it. In Europe, for example, acid rain is impacting the ancient architecture, monuments, and general infrastructure. In America, the issue is almost entirely disregarded. Several world powers (mostly Europe) have taken initiative to reduce the toxic emissions and find alternative energy and fuel sources.

    The creation of the European Union has been instrumental in making positive changes in this field. Specifically, they have set a series of goals on their agenda with the hopes of achieving them by they year 2020. The European Union aims to have 20% of their energy be renewable and have a 20% reduction of greenhouse emissions. To do so, the EU has placed high priority on sources such as wind, hydro-electric, solar, and nuclear energy to replace traditional and damaging fossil fuels. Several countries, the Baltic states for example, have been reducing their carbon emissions by placing emphasis on public transport, bicycles, and electric powered vehicles in place of gasoline fueled automobiles. These can be seen in several of the above images, including the hydro-electric dam and the wind turbines. Also, by looking at the top right image, with the statistical information, clearly Austria is in the lead when it comes to renewable and alternative energy usage with Sweden, Finland, and Denmark following closely behind. Europe is setting an example for the world in the industry of clean and renewable energy. It would be wise for the rest of the world to follow in their footsteps.

  21. The topic of renewable and alternative energy sources ties in somewhat with our last blog post discussing public transportation in Europe. Thinking back to that topic, the European Union’s goals for sustainability and how they relate to the extensive development and promotion of public transport in European cities is quite relevant. The European Union takes environmental sustainability very seriously and has identified one of their main goals as “contributing to the peace, security, and sustainable development of the earth without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs because of resource misuse”. They realized that to be sustainable, growth cannot be generated at the cost of negative environmental impacts. This means that short term economic gains at the expense of the environment need to be replaced by a more sustainable model of economic and social development, which will in turn give rise to greater efficiency and competitiveness. The EU agreed to achieve a reduction of at least 20% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, to ensure that 20% of energy consumption comes from a renewable source by 2020, and to achieve a 20% reduction in primary energy (energy obtained from raw fuels) use as compared to projected levels. As of now, EU countries are on track to meet those goals. As a result, technological innovation and employment in renewable energy industries have been on the rise.
    To achieve these goals, the EU allowed each country to set its own goals at a realistically achievable level. These goals vary widely from 10% energy from renewables in Malta to 49% in Sweden. Each nation is also required to have at least 12% of their fuels for transportation come from a renewable source. In November of 2016, a new EU sustainability goal was set with intentions of reaching 35% energy from renewables by the year 2030. Many are skeptical that this goal is actually attainable and argue that the EU is getting a bit lofty with their goals. Nevertheless, a binding agreement was signed to ensure that the goal is met.
    Several different sources of renewable energy are being utilized to achieve the EU’s goals. Wind power is a major source, producing enough energy in 2011 to supply 6.3% of the EU’s electricity and is growing at 15% per year. About 80% of the population approves of wind power, those disagreeing usually cite the degradation scenery because of large turbines or the dangers they pose to bird populations. Germany, United Kingdom, and Spain are the leaders of Wind power in the EU. 55% of the global capacity of solar power was produced by Europe in 2012 with Germany and Italy leading the way. A newly developed and exciting form of solar power called “concentrated solar power”, capable of storing thermal power and providing energy up to 24 hours a day, went active in Sicily in 2015. It has generated a lot of interest as an off-grid power source for remote areas of the world. Wave power is not as popular as other major sources but there are sites located in Scotland off the coast of Orkney, capable 3MW capacity, and in Portugal off the coast near Povoa de Varzim.

  22. With the rise of the industrial revolution, the European Continent saw the rise of the use of energy sources such as fossil fuels, coal, and other nonrenewable energy sources. Now, the continent is having an intense movement away from sources of energy such as these has become an pressing topic in Europe. Alternative energy sources refer to more renewable such as hydropower, wind, solar, natural gas, nuclear, geothermal, bioenergy, etc.. Energy production is an important and complex issue for Europe and encompasses not just environmental issues but political as well. The European Union’s urgency to reduce its dependency on our countries like Russia for natural gas and Saudi Arabia for oil. Members of the European Union are some of the world leaders in the use of alternative energy. The European Union has made the topic of renewable energy a huge policy focus. It is one of the headlines of the European Union’s goals for 2020. They have already made huge strides towards this goal. The gross final consumption of energy from renewable sources in 2014 was 16% which was up considerably from only 8.5% in 2004 (Eurostat). Impressively, one third of European Union member states have already reach their goals for 2020 with Denmark and Austria only one percentage point away. This rapid development towards renewable energy sources is incredible. There are huge amounts of investment and development in alternate energy production. Renewable energy sources accounted for 90 percent of the new power added to Europe’s electricity grids in 2016. More than half of this capacity was windfarms. Wind energy production is the motion energy of wind flow that is harvested by wind turbines which are depicted in the photographs. Wind is one of the more common forms of renewable energy in Europe with 10.4% of the European Union’s electricity demand being covered by wind power production. 27.5 billion euros were invested in wind energy development in 2016 (WindEurope). Denmark produces a large amount of wind energy with 42 percent of its electricity during 2015 because its landscape is very conducive to wind production. The most produced form of alternate energy in Europe is Nuclear. Europe has seen opposition to nuclear power especially due to disasters with nuclear energy seen with Chernobyl and Fukushima. The largest movement away from Nuclear energy has been seen in Germany. Germany has started measures to close all its nuclear reactors by 2022. Solar energy accounts for around 6 percent of the total energy production in the European Union (Eurostat). Hydropower production is mostly associated with the large sized dams, but it can also be produced in small-scale facilities as well. Hydropower accounts for more then 14 percent of total primary energy production of renewable energy. Geothermal energy technologies to extract the energy that is trapped in the Earth’s surface in the form of heat that is trapped in rocks and vapors. Geothermal energy contributed to around 3 percent of energy production in Europe. Iceland is a leader in geothermal energy production with around 85 percent of its energy production coming from renewable energy sources with 66 percent of that being geothermal.

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