Blowin’ in the EU

Why has wind energy grown faster in Germany than Britain, and energy from solar panels expanded more quickly in Spain than Greece? The answers can be found in a new report from the European Environment Agency.

Why has wind energy grown faster in Germany than Britain, and energy from solar panels expanded more quickly in Spain than Greece?

If you want to find out, then the answers can be found in a new report from the European Environment Agency that identifies factors that can influence the success of renewable energy projects.

The report, dubbed ‘Renewable energies: success stories’ focuses on how much each EU country managed to expand the use of a number of renewable energy technologies – solar photovoltaic panels, solar thermal heating, wind and certain uses of biomass (wood and crops) – between 1993 and 1999.

The study identifies essential elements for success in seven areas: political, legislative, fiscal, financial and administrative support, technological development, and information, education and training.

Success stories cited in the report include the expansion of solar thermal energy and biomass-fuelled district heating in Austria, wind energy and biomass power in Denmark, photovoltaics, solar thermal and wind energy in Germany, photovoltaics and wind energy in Spain and biomass district heating in Sweden.

‘This report demonstrates the European Environment Agency’s determination to gather and disseminate ‘best practice’ information,’ said EEA Executive Director Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán.

The report was launched at the European Parliament in Brussels at a meeting of the European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources (EUROFORES) and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).

The study and the executive summary can be downloaded from the EEA website at

http://reports.eea.eu.int/environmental_issue_report_2001_27/en/