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By producing green electricity the emissions of CO2 are minimized. Therefore everybody can make a contribution to the protection of the climate by obtaining green electricity.
Pursuant to Directive 2001/77/EC, all the Member States have adopted national targets on the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources. With the measures that have been put in place, the Commission estimates that the share of renewable energy sources in EU15 is on course to reach 10% in 2010.
The situation varies considerably from one Member State to another. In general, countries can be divided into three groups having made different amounts of progress as regards renewable energy:
- Germany, Denmark, Spain and Finland have implemented an energy policy which should enable them to reach their national targets;
- Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden have begun adopting policies and measures which would also allow them to achieve their national targets;
- Greece and Portugal must improve their policies since these will not enable them to reach their targets.
Water power, solar power, wind turbines, combined heat and power - the sources of green power are different and the various label try to cover all these aspects within the range of their criteria.
With the liberalisation of the electricity market in 1998, the basis for a free market economy rivalry on the European electricity market was created. Electricity became 1999 a free tradable commodity in most member states. Only few distinctive features exist for electricity, e. g. reliability or frequency fluctuations. For the majority of the customers the price is the most important decision criterion, since the characteristics, specified above, are naturally assumed. Due to the high quality standard in most member states, only the origin and/or the generation of the electricity remains as further – invisible – comparison element.
With the liberalisation of the electricity market, the customer may not only rely on the electricity offer of the local power supplier, but also use the offers of competitors. The number of offers and providers of green power, i. e. electricity of renewable energy sources such as power from water, wind or solar, increases in most countries since then.
In order to give the consumers transparent decision guidance, despite the complexity of the electricity market, different green power labels were developed and introduced into the market.