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Opinion
Mark Gilbert

Can Europe Keep the Lights On This Winter?

As Europe struggles to keep the lights on this winter governments will have to address their attitudes toward both nuclear power and hydraulic fracking for shale gas.
Power to the people -- maybe. 
Power to the people -- maybe. 

Europe may struggle to keep the lights on as temperatures drop as the switch to greener sources of energy complicates the balance between supply and demand in the region. The inconvenience of brownouts, though, should have the welcome effect of forcing governments to address their attitudes toward both nuclear power and fracking for shale gas.

About 7 percent of the world's population lives in Europe, yet regional spending of 500 billion euros ($625 billion) on renewable energy investment between 2004 and 2013 accounts for half of total global spending on wind farms, solar installations and the like. Renewable sources now provide more than 14 percent of the Europe's energy, up from 8.3 percent in 2004, according toa report published this week by consulting firm Cap Gemini.