Solar energy now receives the most amount of energy funding annually, surpassing fossil fuels at just under €15bn, reveals a recent report released by the European Union (EU).
The initial findings in the report, Subsidies and costs of EU energies, indicate solar is considerably more popular in comparison with its other renewable energy counterparts and the established fossil fuel sources.
Covering the year 2012, onshore wind energy was the next-highest target for European energy funding at €10.1bn, followed by biomass (€8.3bn) and hydropower (€5.2bn).
Lower in overall funding is offshore wind farms, geothermal energy and a category described as ‘other’ totalling €2.45bn.
Comparing this to fossil fuels and other sources of energy, the most public funding went to the production of coal energy, which received the same amount spent on wind energy in 2012, €10.1bn.
Compared with the rest of Europe, Ireland appears to remain quite invested fossil fuel production
The report also found that between 2008 and 2012, the costs of solar energy production fell significantly to reach a level comparable with fossil fuels at about €100/MWh, however, coal still remains the cheapest generator of electricity at a rate of €75/MWh.
The EU’s vice-president responsible for energy and incoming EU digital commissioner Günther Oettinger, said this first report of its kind will now help the EU gain a better understanding of how the region consumes and produces its energy.
“We are now better informed about the size of public subsidies in recent years and the costs for power generation across all technologies,” he said.
“But the task is not yet completed. This can only be a first step and there are still gaps in our knowledge. We have to continue to work on filling these gaps. More research is needed, in particular on historical subsidies in the energy market in all EU member states and the EU overall."
Electric pylons image via Shutterstock
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