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Late January, 2008


How the UK stands on renewable energy in the European Community.

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  We have just had a look at some statistics from the European Commission to see how the various member nations fare in the energy stakes and the results are quite staggering. The commission outlines its three main motives for encouraging an increase in the proportion of energy that is derived from renewables. Briefly they are: reduction of CO2 emissions, enhancing sustainability and improving the reliability of supply by reducing dependence on imported sources. We fully support this reasoning.
    The figures we have chosen for comparison give the "share of renewable energies in primary energy consumption of European countries in 2005". Admittedly they seem to be out of date but with statistics that is what you get. The page that includes the figures is up to date (January 2008) and they do provide a useful guide and a league table for evaluation. If you want to see the EC source click here.
    This is how we would describe their bar chart showing the percentage of renewables for 25 countries. It seems to divide naturally into four sections; let us call these quartiles for simplicity.
    The first (top) quartile contains countries whose share is well above the EU average of 6.38%. These members start with Austria (21%) and increase through Finland, Sweden and are topped by Latvia (40%)
    All members in the second quartile manage to exceed the average starting with Lithuania (8.85%) and go upwards through Estonia, Slovenia, Portugal and Denmark (14%). The nine countries in the top quartiles deserve some applause but bear in mind that this leaves the other sixteen countries below average and that is poor because they comprise 64% of the total membership. We acknowledge that some countries are higher than others because of their national heritage (or lack thereof) and indigenous resources but on balance we think Sweden could be a good role model.
    The third quartile starts at the low end with the Czech Republic (4.4%) and ascends through Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Greece, Italy, France and Spain (6%). These countries have nothing to shout about and you'll notice that it includes the most influential nations in the community. By now you may wonder why we've omitted the UK. Simple; we are in the lowest quartile with 1.6%!
    This final quartile starts at rock bottom with Malta (next-to-nothing %) followed by Cyprus, Belgium, the UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and is topped by Ireland (2.7%). Shameful, we say. To add insult to injury our UK leaders have proposed that we go out and sell our expertise (on renewable energy) to the wider world. In fact we wrote to our party leaders a couple of years ago suggesting that we should do just that; the caveat being that we should invest in developing our expertise in a diverse range of renewable technologies. They haven't done that so what have we got to sell? It's still not too late to start but, in the meantime, get real Gordon.
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 7 May, 2013