The development of electricity in Europe is different from that of the United States and Japan. When developing electricity, more emphasis is placed on the impact of the power system on the environment. In recent years, the increase in installed power generation capacity in Europe has mainly relied on new or renewable energy sources. The ultimate goal of its energy development is distributed power generation rather than large-scale centralized power generation.
Germany is the country with the largest installed capacity of distributed power generation in the world, with more than 40 million kW, and 90% of its photovoltaic power plants have been established through distributed systems. Germany makes full use of the roofs of residents and public facilities to establish distributed systems, and wind power is mostly distributed. Distributed systems have become the main way for Germany to develop renewable energy in recent years. The installed capacity of distributed energy in Germany accounts for 20% of the total installed capacity.
Denmark is one of the countries with the most mature distributed power generation technology. Since 1990, the installed capacity of large-scale power plants in Denmark has hardly increased. The newly added installed capacity is mainly installed on the user side or regional distributed energy power stations and renewable energy power stations. Up to now, the distributed installed capacity in Denmark has exceeded 53% of the total installed capacity in the country. Distributed power stations in Denmark generally only supply power for local loads. Solar photovoltaic panels or small gas turbines are installed in energy-consuming areas to supplement or replace the centralized power supply of the large power grid. The Danish government has formulated a series of effective laws and policies to encourage the development of distributed power generation. It has successively formulated the Heat Supply Law, the Electricity Supply Law, the National Natural Gas Supply Law, etc., and clearly formulated relevant laws and regulations to support distributed power generation.
The Dutch government vigorously supports the development of distributed power generation and has launched the cogeneration incentive plan, focusing on encouraging distributed power generation in the form of cogeneration. Most of the distributed power generation projects in the Netherlands are jointly invested and constructed with industrial enterprises. This feature has also enabled the rapid development of distributed power generation in the Netherlands. The Dutch government stipulates that its combined heat and power distributed generation can be connected to the grid, and the power sector must accept electricity for such projects.
Distributed power generation in the UK mainly focuses on environmental protection and greenhouse gas emission reduction. The development of distributed power generation is one of the key ways for the UK to adjust and manage domestic carbon emissions. The British government has formulated relevant policies to reduce the cost of distributed power access to the grid, and encourage household users to build small distributed power generation equipment that can feed the surplus power to the grid while supplying households for their own use.
At present, solar photovoltaic power generation technology and wind power generation technology are relatively mature worldwide. Data shows that the total output of solar cells is continuously increasing at a rate of 30% to 40% per year, and the total installed capacity of wind power is increasing at an average annual growth rate of more than 30%. Worldwide forecasts for the future power market indicate that the world market’s expected distributed power generation capacity will reach 20GW per year, and the total new distributed power generation capacity will account for 20% of the total new power generation capacity. By 2050, some developed countries using new energy to generate electricity may account for 30% to 50% of their own electricity market.