Mixed views on future growth of renewables in Europe


Marianne Osterkorn,
International Director,
Vienna, Austria — (METERING.COM) — October 3, 2007 – Renewable energy, along with energy efficiency, is set to play a greater role in energy delivery in the future but opinions are divided on by how much and how rapidly these will grow, according to delegates attending the 9th Metering, Billing/CRM Europe.

In an interactive opening session, in which delegates were polled on a number of issues on renewable energy and energy efficiency, opinions were just about evenly divided on whether or not renewable energy will exceed 30 percent of energy delivery in the European Union in the near future and whether this would occur within the next ten years or longer.

Almost two-thirds also felt that Northern Europe and Scandinavia is the most environmentally advanced region in the world currently.

The session was led by Marianne Osterkorn, international director of the Vienna-based Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), who said that change was needed in energy systems globally, both on the demand and supply sides, in order to make an impact on climate change.

“We need to both increase the proportion of renewables in the energy mix and to delink economic growth from energy use,” said Osterkorn.

Delegates felt that the major contribution of renewable energy and energy efficiency would be in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that the main drivers to their development will be their environmental friendly nature and reduced dependency on oil prices. However while there is a lot of talk at political level about these there is insufficient action “on the ground” and the main obstacle to their development currently is lack of political will, with governments not sufficiently committed to effecting change.

Most delegates felt that customers would be prepared to pay up to 10 percent more for renewable energy, but the high cost of equipment and low cost of energy were considered as the main barriers to their participation currently. Almost half of delegates felt that there is a need to provide trend information to consumers to stimulate behavioral change, and utilities and TV were seen as the most important players in providing information.

The 9th Metering, Billing/CRM Europe opened in Vienna, Austria yesterday, with a record of more than 1,700 registered delegates.