Ever-increasing energy consumption is one of the greatest challenges facing Europe and the world today. Most consumption is derived from fossil fuels - much of it imported from outside Europe, depleting natural resources and contributing to global climate change, through increased greenhouse gas emissions. When the EU signed the Kyoto Protocol, it promised to reduce these emissions by 2012, by 8% in comparison to 1990 levels. To meet this commitment, significant changes of behaviour are required now, both in terms of energy supply and demand management.
The OPET RES-e Consortium was launched in April 2003 to promote energy technologies for electricity generation from renewable energy sources (RES-e). The European Union's Directive on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market, the RES-e Directive sets the ambitious target of increasing the share of RES-e to 22 % by 2010 (from 13.9% in 1997).
Success in reaching this target depends on local implementation. The OPET RES-e Consortium has made significant contributions towards meeting the target, by boosting local technology uptake and by delivering research and technical development results and know-how to local actors.
The Consortium is sensitive to local conditions which vary significantly.
Some 18 partners - many of them regional energy agencies - from 13 countries joined the Consortium, which was coordinated by the OÖ Energiesparverband (Upper Austria Energy Agency). Participants include Spain (Catalonia, Andalucia and the Basque Country), France (Rhône-Alpes), United Kingdom (Wales), Germany (Berlin, Saarland and Brandenburg), Belgium (Flanders), Austria (Upper Austria), Czech Republic (Southern Bohemia), Poland (Gdansk Region), Sweden (Västra Götaland) Slovenia, Finland, India and China.
The main objectives of the Consortium were:
The work undertaken within the Consortium includes regional technology mapping, best-practice reports on public acceptance, financing case studies and other targeted dissemination activities. Three international events, more than 30 local events and over 30 publications have ensured that a large number of market actors have benefited from the know-how exchange.
The Consortium activities fell into six main thematic areas:
The major role of the RES-e Consortium within the wider OPET network has been to integrate knowledge and provide feed back to the European Commission on the application of European renewable energy policies.