France, Bulgaria, Greece: Emerging Clean Energy Markets

wind%20farm%20construction_small%20133.jpgAlthough some of the heavy hitters are still major players, 2008 has shown growth in renewable energy markets that had been weak previously. New players however are entering the renewable energy field, according to Clean Energy Trends 2009 report released today.
The vast majority of the electricity generated in France is from 59 nuclear reactors. It has not been considered a global leader in renewable energy, but France has taken some bold steps to support growth in this industry.
The government plans to have 23% of its electricity generated from renewable energy sources including hydroelectric power by 2020. A feed-in tariff of 30 Euro cents for commercial buildings has been introduced to encourage solar energy growth.
France now exceeds Denmark in wind energy capacity after adding 950 MW in 2008. The country currently has 3,400 MW of wind power and plans to increase this to 25,000 MW by 2020.

Russia cut off Bulgaria’s supply of natural gas for more than 2 weeks in January. With Russia supplying 96% of the country’s gas, the repercussions were severe for both residential and industrial customers alike.
Many are blaming the government for the situation and call for increased energy independence from Russia. Three planned wind farm in the northeast of the country may be a step in that direction.
Bulgaria’s Clever Synergies Investment Fund plans to finance three wind farms totaling 200 MW in northeast Bulgaria near the Black Sea. Current capacity is a mere 16.5 MW.
The government introduced a feed-in tariff in 2007 for renewable energy for a 12-year duration. The rates vary by energy source and are much higher for photovoltaic solar energy than wind power or small-scale hydroelectric.
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The parliament recently approved a robust feed-in tariff for solar energy. The feed-in tariff provides $ .40 a kWh for systems that are less than 100 kilowatts.
The California-based company SolFocus recently signed a deal for 10 MW of concentrated solar power installations in Greece. These installations will be comprised of 100-80 kW solar systems.
This will enable Greece to be a leader in concentrated photovoltaic use and take advantage of its ideal solar resources.
“Greece is very committed to its renewable portfolio standards, so you’re going to see a lot of activity there,” SolFocus Vice President of Marketing Nancy Hartsoch said earlier this month. “They have some nice incentives and feed-in tariffs, so just as it drove Spain’s market a few years ago, you’ll see it drive the solar market in Greece.”
Photo Credit (lower photo): SolFocus Inc.

Sarah Lozanova is a green copywriter and communications professional specializing in renewable energy and clean technology. She is a consultant for Sustainable Solutions Group and a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Home Power, Earth911, and Green Builder. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine.

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