The nuclear tragedy in Japan has led some to act quickly to reshape our energy future: Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power by 2022 and Italy’s surprisingly overwhelming rejection of nuclear power in a referendum last month were clear signs that Europeans want to move to renewable energy. The market figures already show how much progress has been made: According to EPIA’s recent Global Market Outlook report, solar energy PV was the fastest growing renewable energy source last year, and second only to gas among all energy sources.
But the PV sector should not take for granted the progress made so far, nor assume it will automatically translate into favourable policy conditions. We need to work even harder to ensure that policymakers are well-informed on the benefits of a future fuelled by PV, and of creating a regulatory framework capable of realising it. This, in turn, will encourage innovation and investment.
Germany and Italy, two of Europe’s biggest solar PV markets, have shown boldness in deciding to look beyond nuclear power – and beyond antiquated doubts about whether renewable energy can fulfil our energy needs. We now have no choice but to strengthen our embrace of renewables. Solar PV will be a big part of the solution.
Reinhold Buttgereit, EPIA Secretary General, www.epia.org/