Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in the European Union

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In 2008, the European Union (EU) created its very ambitious 20-20-20 plan. It called for an increase in renewable energy use throughout the EU by 20 percent by the year 2020. Also included in this plan is a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent under 1990 levels and increased energy efficiency by 20 percent. The plans focus on three key areas – buildings, transportation, and industry. To obtain these goals, the EU has made lots of efforts working with countries, businesses and people. Here are some of the highlights of the EU’s cleantech initiatives.

1) EU Looking to Build Greener Technology for Greener Cars. The EDISON Project, short for Electric Vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated Market Using Sustainable Energy and Open Networks, in the EU is targeted at developing a smart infrastructure to alter extensive adoption of EVs powered by sustainable energy. EDISON is being looked at as an instrumental project to assist in the development of the required infrastructure for a large scale roll-out of EVs in Denmark. Denmark is one of the most energy efficient countries in the EU and if it works, the project will be tweaked to spread throughout the EU.

2) EWEA Looking to Reach 2020 Goals with Wind Power Generation. The European Wind Energy Association, or EWEA, said in August 2011 that its energy generated via offshore and onshore wind power installations throughout the EU will triple by the year 2020. According to EWEA the wind power will increase from 182TWh to 581TWh by 2020. It will be enough electricity to power all households in the United Kingdom, Spain, Poland, France, and Germany.

3) EU – India Cleantech Initiative. The EU – India Cleantech Initiative looks to work together to create a major initiative to “define and encourage opportunities for businesses and research institusions from the European Union to engage with India across a wide portfolio of clean technologies.” Both sides are hoping for a number of outcomes from this strategic alliance, including providing insight into the convergence of both areas energy and environmental concerns, look at collaborative efforts to address these concerns, share best practices to promote clean technologies, and increase cooperation and knowledge sharing.

4) European Energy Venture Fair. The European Energy Venture Fair is a two day event created in 2007 to promote energy activities and use the assets found to support clean technology ventures. It seeks to provide support to research and development teams looking to carry out clean technology programs throughout the EU as well as the world.

5) Energy Efficiency Directive. The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive was created in June 2011 to provide a new set of measures to increase total energy efficiency throughout the EU. Unfortunately, in the last few years the EU got a bit off track with their energy efficiency guidelines and this new directive is supposed to bring new measures forward to step up the efforts of EU member states to use energy much more efficiently throughout all stages of energy chains, including transformation of energy and distribution to energy consumption.

6) EU Energy Star. Much like the United State’s Energy Star, the EU created its own energy labeling for all domestic appliances. The EU has determined that 35 percent of energy needs come from the households of all member states, mainly for use of household appliances, which see the biggest increase due to high standards of living, multiple appliances and the increased need for HVAC systems. The energy labeling of all appliances, including ovens, HVAC systems, washing machines, dishwashers and so on will create consumer awareness in regards to energy use and will make the conscious effort to be more energy efficient with energy efficient products.

7) Albania – EU Energy Efficiency Center. The Albania – EU Energy Efficiency Center was established in 1995 under the European Commission and Albanian government. The center collaborates with a number of countries to improve and promote energy efficiency throughout the Albanian economy and protection of the Albanian environment. Through the center, technical expertise is provided as well as sources of information necessary to use more renewable energy and become more energy efficiency.

8 ) The Euro-Mediterranean Energy Efficiency Forum. The Euro-Mediterranean Energy Efficiency Forum is “Europe’s premier, invitation-only event that creates an energy ethic to accelerate the adoption of legislation designed to curb climate change.” This forum looks to address a number of emerging trends that will change the way countries utilize their energy resources. The 2011 forum will highlight a number of ways countries intend to capitalize on political momentum for energy efficient and assist in ensuring that business models, policies, communications and technologies related to the field of energy efficiency are stronger and more long lasting.

9) Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign. The Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign displays a number of activities that are dedicated to solutions in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The campaign looks to focus on spreading best practices in sustainable energy technologies as well as inspire new ideas and actions in the field of energy sustainability. Anyone with a projects or event that encourages energy efficient or renewable energy use is welcome to join the campaign.

10) The European Renewable Energy Council. The European Renewable Energy Council was established in 2000 to act as the voice of the renewable energy industry in the EU. It is an umbrella organization active in a number of sectors, including solar thermal, photovoltaics, small hydropower, bio energy, ocean power, geothermal, and wind energy. The main location of the council is the Renewable Energy House in Brussels, which is the capital of the EU. The house creates alliances between renewable energy stakeholders and provides easy flow of information on renewable energy. Some current projects include Renewable Energy Policy Action Paving the Way towards 2020 and common quality certification and accreditation for installers of small scale renewable energy systems.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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