EU to lead race for renewables

Dec. 5, 2011 at 8:32 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- While the outlook for the United States is uncertain, European countries are set to lead the development of renewable energy, an analyst said.

The European Union has established ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and expanding renewable energy use by 2020. Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning energy analyst, told the Platts news service Europe is leading the way in new renewable energy technology.

"Europe, particularly Germany, will be a laboratory for offshore wind," he was quoted as saying. "It's the next frontier for renewable power."

The United States is rich in alternative resources like shale natural gas. This, said Yergin, is expected to shake up the energy mix in one of the world's top consumers of conventional fossil fuels.

Though the United States doesn't have firm national laws regarding renewable energy, some states do and lawmakers are focusing on a national renewable agenda. Nevertheless, with the U.S. economy slowly moving out of recession, the focus on renewable energy should wan, said Yergin.

"We're not likely to see a national push for this," he said of the U.S. renewable energy outlook.

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