As a result of more investments in wind energy projects, the European offshore wind energy market is slated to show robust growth. Throughout Europe, governments have been encouraged to promote renewable energy source adoption. Such plans have primarily included solar and wind energy based on growing greenhouse gas emissions concerns. The impetus necessary to expand the offshore wind energy market has arrived now thanks to growing investments in the sector. A number of factors, including the tremendous cost of installation as well as slowed regulatory approvals, could prove to hold back the growth of the offshore wind energy market to some degree, however.
Over the course of the last several years, the UK has held the honor of having one of the largest markets for offshore wind energy. The Energy Act of 2013, along with other favorable government policies, has assisted in leveling the cost of offshore wind energy. Recent studies have shown that Germany could soon experience rapid growth over the next several years in this market. Increased private sector investments combined with numerous approved projects have made it possible for the offshore wind energy market to experience unparalleled growth in Germany. Both Denmark and the Netherlands are also expected to show significant growth by 2024.
While consumers have largely remained more familiar with the concept of solar panels as a form of renewable energy production up to this point, wind power is quickly becoming an accepted norm throughout Europe. The total amount of installed capacity wind energy in Europe has now outpaced the total capacity for coal-fueled electric power plants. This is a first in Europe. Over the next several years, as wind generation continues to expand, the gap between wind energy and coal-fueled electric power plants is expected to widen even more.
Sweden has also come to be regarded as somewhat of a role model when it comes to the use of renewable energy. Due to the vast amount of natural assets in Sweden, along with a dedication to using the latest technology, the country’s energy use is largely comprised of renewable energy. In fact, Sweden has shown significant commitment to making the transition from the use of oil since the 1970’s oil crisis to the use of more alternative energy sources. While oil made up some 75 percent of energy supplies in the country four decades ago, today oil accounts for only 20 percent of energy usage in Sweden.
Interestingly, there are few European countries that use more energy on a per-capita basis than Sweden. Carbon emissions in the country are considered low. Over the last several years, the Swedish economy has experienced tremendous growth. Yet, at the same time, Sweden has worked diligently toward lowering emissions, with more than 80 percent of the country’s electricity production coming from nuclear and hydroelectric power. Combined heat and power plants are responsible for 10 percent of Swedish electricity output. Biofuels are the primary source of fuel for these plants.
More Swedish businesses are also making the commitment to invest in renewable energy. Among them is Wallenstam, which began investing in green electricity both for its own operations as well as for tenants in 2006. Within six years, the company had become the first in the nation to become completely self-sufficient in renewable energy. Various other Swedish companies are following suit, including Eneas. The Swedish and Norwegian market leader is also working diligently to provide more renewable energy.
Around the world, wind power is now the quickest growing renewable energy source. The capacity for wind power in Sweden is growing at a rapid rate. For instance, the production of wind power in the country has shown significant growth since 2000. More than 3,100 wind turbines are now in operation in Sweden. There are still some challenges, however. The region’s electricity supply grid has experienced heavy demands as a result of fluctuating production levels. The rising market share for wind power has also contributed to strong demands. Consequently, the electricity supply grid will need to be strengthened and expanded.
Despite those challenges, Sweden is working hard toward achieving its goals. By 2040, Sweden is set to begin producing all energy using renewable sources. Swedish regulatory officials report the country is able to tap into numerous favorable locations for placing land-based wind turbines. The fact that Sweden is not heavily populated is also a great benefit. Gradually, wind power has begun to increase in Sweden while also becoming more cost-efficient. For the moment, the wind power still accounts for only a small portion of the country’s overall energy production. Still, the fact that wind power accounts for any percentage reveals growth. A few years ago, wind power comprised nearly 0 percent of Sweden’s overall energy production. Sweden has set the goal of adding 17 terawatt-hours of annual renewable electricity production by 2030.
For their part, Swedish electricity production companies are trying to help. The country’s state energy company, Vattenfall, announced it would start selling lignite operations located in Germany. The firm stated that the operations were no longer compatible with new climate change goals.
Sweden has also recently announced a new agreement with India that will result in a collaboration focused on waste-to-energy, hydropower, smart metering, and solar energy. The two countries conducted bilateral meetings last year to discuss smart cities, green financing and investment, energy-efficient mining, electro-mobility, and smart grid and energy solutions. Several Swedish energy firms have also stated they will be partnering with Punjab Energy Development Agency.
Sweden has also established the goal of working to help educate consumers about the importance of renewable energy usage. In 2008, the country introduced a law regarding energy declaration to demonstrate the amount of energy consumed by buildings in relation to other buildings. The goal of the law is the promotion of energy-efficient usage. All private homes and blocks of flats are subject to the law. Additionally, the Swedish government has appointed an energy advisor to each of the 290 municipalities in the country. Consumers will be able to turn to the advisor for assistance with such topics as replacing windows, low-energy lights, and making the change to alternative heating systems.