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Renewables set to overcome nuclear in Europe’s power generation projects

A new report by Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) suggests that nuclear power is set to lose its leading position in Europe’s power generation projects due to a growing demand to shift into renewable energy.

Timetric claims this change is spurred by the European governments’ attempt to reconcile the EU’s aim to generate at least one fifth of its power consumption from renewable sources by 2020 with the requirements of each economy for reliable power sources.

The European Union target of its member countries collectively achieving 20% energy consumption from renewables by 2020 has created the impetus to adopt renewable power sources at the expense of fossil fuels.  With some countries falling behind in achieving their targets by 2020, Timetrich believes investment in renewable energy will pick up in the next five years.

The CIC's report conveys that, in terms of renewable power generation, wind power projects in Europe have the highest value, close to US$300 billion, and are being developed in 13 of the 16 countries covered in this report. The UK has the highest-value project pipeline in this sector, with US$182 billion, due to its massive investment in offshore wind farms. Although Germany is in second place, with a value of US$37.9 billion, its most expensive project is worth US$2.7 billion compared with the UK’s top project, the US$37.5 billion Crown Round III Offshore Wind Farm Development.

Hydroelectric is in second place behind wind, with an investment value of US$42.9 billion. Switzerland has the highest-value project pipeline in this sector, totaling US$12.2 billion. Hydroelectric already provides 58% of power generation in Switzerland. Turkey, although a non-EU state, is a close second, with US$11.7 billion. The country has also pledged to develop 30% of its total installed capacity from renewable sources by 2023.

According to Neil Martin, Manager at Timetric CIC: “Nuclear power should decline given the opt-out by Germany, while renewables will increase to take up the power demand as the EU follows its strategy of 20% of energy consumption being met by renewables by 2020. Europe’s economic performance will ultimately determine expansion in demand for power use and generation, and affect each country’s performance in meeting the targets set by the EU.”

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Energy efficiency  •  Other marine energy and hydropower  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power