>Why is CEE ahead in renewable energy generation?


The EU’s latest targets for renewable energy generation throw up an interesting fact: that many CEE states have considerable highly levels of renewables than most West European states – and here ‘renewables’ as I understand it excludes (carbon neutral – possibly) nukes. Not too surprisingly Sweden comes in top, generating almost 40% renewably, but Latvia comes in second with 34% coming from renewables and states such as Romania and Slovenia easily outperform most old EU15 states, including those with a history of green politics such as Germany. The solution to this paradox, it turns out, is simple: the bulk of renewable electricity generation (including in Sweden) comes from hydro-power Whether this is a question of river systems or institutions (authoritarian communist central planning sweeping aside local objections over the destruction of local environment in ways democratic policy-making structures could not?) is an interesting question. Ultimately, however, the dispiriting picture is of a huge renewables gap, especially in the UK which comes in with a woeful 1.3% of renewable sources and a target, which might see us catch up with East European levels by 2020.

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