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Energy end-use efficiency and electricity from biomass, wind and photovoltaics in the European Union, status report 2004

Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV


The European Union is implementing challenging commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8% in accord with the Kyoto protocol, and has established ambitious targets for renewable energies and energy end-use efficiency in its White Paper: Energy for the Future: Renewable Sources of Energy.
In the past decade, renewable energy technologies have made significant progress in terms of performance, cost and reliability, thanks to vigorous research, development, demonstration and market introduction programmes at European, national and also regional level. Developments primarily rooted in environmental concerns are now penetrating all societal decision making and have led to a new, dynamic, and exponentially growing industry.
Three major drivers are determining today�s socio-economic framework for the impressive renewables� industrial and market developments. First, successful application of legally binding feed-in tariffs; secondly, liberalisation of the electricity market, and thus new possibilities for decentralisation of power generation. Third, and in the medium term, there is the undisputed need for massive re-powering the larger part of Europe�s generation capacity. This will incur generally higher electricity costs, which reflect somewhat better the real costs (incl. externalities) of all the different energy technologies. Thus a more favourable market situation for sustainable technology choices will evolve, e.g. for massive renewable power generation. While technology development has been a key driver in the progress of renewables, first examples of significant penetration would have been impossible without appropriate, supporting policies including instruments such as introduction targets, carbon taxes, elimination of non-technical barriers, internalisation of external costs of energy, and harmonisation of market rules.

Additional information

Authors: JAGER-WALDAU A (Editor), European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 21297 EN (2004), 135pp. Free of charge
Availability: Available from European Commission, JRC Knowledge Management Unit, Ispra (IT) Tel: +39 033278 9893 Fax: +39 033278 5409 E-mail: or Bruxelles (BE) Tel: +32 2 295 76 24 Fax: +32 2 299 63 22
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