By Heather Donald
Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic have surged ahead with renewable energy development despite claims that they are falling behind the rest of Europe.
According to Rod Christie, the General Electric president for central and eastern Europe, Romania has a very good wind resource and has just started to build the biggest wind farm outside of the US. The 600 Megawatt plant is due to be completed by 2011. Romania has also implemented legislation to safeguard renewable energy development and they are already leaving Poland behind in the race to be green.
Hungary and the Czech Republic have also followed Romania’s lead and created policies to help smaller biogas generators get on to the national grid. The EU’s structural
funds have supported some of these policies. They will also support Poland’s capture and store clean coal initiative.
Chris Coakley, a spokesman for the greens in the European parliament, commented: “The EU’s binding 20% renewables target for 2020 is good for the climate and good for the economy too, because it is expected to create over two million jobs in Europe. This has helped to give a great push for renewables, including in the EU’s newer Member States.” It would appear that some political parties see Eastern Europe’s bid for renewable energy as a positive yet necessary development, especially under EU legislation.
This is echoed by Linda McAvan a Labour spokesman on climate change as she describes the EU’s stringent policy plans. “Last year MEPs and Ministers agreed a package of laws to help the EU tackle climate change. This is part of our preparations for the UN Copenhagen climate change talks at the end of this year where Europe is pledging ambitious emission reductions. As part of the package, each country in Europe has signed up to a target for increasing its share of renewable energy by 2020. The UK is doing its bit – we will see a big expansion of wind, solar, biomass and other technologies. And we will see similar moves in other EU countries, including in Central and Eastern Europe. I very much welcome this.”
Eastern Europe is steadily moving towards green energy in a race for 2020.