The economic crisis has severely effected the European Union’s plans to invest 1 trillion euro ($1.3 trillion) in promoting green power and high-tech power grids across Europe. Although Portugal, Malta and eastern states like Lithuania supported the plan proposed last November by Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, Europe’s biggest players like Germany, France and the Netherlands believed these plans didn’t merit EU funding.
Despite this conflict of interests, plenty of green initiatives are taking off across Europe ahead of the summit with the UK, Northern Ireland, Scandinavia and even Bulgaria pushing ahead with renewable energy.
Figures released by the European Wind Energy Association this week revealed offshore wind installations had increased by 51% in 2010, with the United Kingdom leading the way with a capacity of 1,341 Megawatts.
As Business Review Europe reported yesterday, David Cameron believes Northern Europe should form an "alliance of common interests." The UK is keen to collaborate with Norway, Latvia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania and Estonia to develop offshore wind farms.
Norway is reportedly set to invest £1bn in the Sheringham Shoal wind farm and planning to spend up to £30bn on the Dogger Bank wind farm – which is likely to be constructed in 2014.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) CEO Professor J Owen Lewis has said significant progress has been made in renewable energy which will boost the country’s economy. Speaking at the Irish Renewable Energy Summit, Lewis said:
"Significant progress is being made in developing and harnessing the country’s natural energy resources. It is important to point out that our existing success in renewable energy is already having a direct impact on the competitiveness of the Irish economy.”
Toshiba, Tokyo Electric Power and the Japanese government have announced plans to build one of the world’s largest solar power stations in Bulgaria.
Japan daily Nikkei said: "It is true that Toshiba is carrying out various activities for developing solar power in Bulgaria." The country intends to obtain 16 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020 chasing the European Union’s target of 20 percent.