In 2014, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of the European Union reached 16 percent, according to Eurostat data released on Wednesday (Feb. 10).
With respect to the objectives set by the EU 20-20-20 strategy, nine Member states have already reached the level required to meet their national renewable energy targets for 2020: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Finland and Sweden. Moreover, Denmark and Austria are less than 1 percentage point from their 2020 targets, Eurostat stated. The furthest away from their renewable energy goals are: France (8.7 percentage points from reaching its national 2020 objective), the Netherlands (8.5 pp), the United Kingdom (8.0 pp) and Ireland (7.4 pp).
According to the latest report by the European Environment Agency on “Trends and projections in Europe” (issued in late 2015), the European Union is on track to meet each of its 2020 targets: 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, 20 percent of EU energy from renewables, 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency. Progress towards the GHG target more pronounced than for the renewable energy and energy efficiency targets, according to EEA assessment.
European GHG emissions were already 19.8 percent below 1990 levels in 2013 and are expected to reach a reduction of 24 percent by 2020 with the current measures in place. Additional measures currently planned by Member States could further reduce emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels.
Since 2005, the EU’s primary and final energy consumption has been decreasing at a pace which, if sustained until 2020, would be sufficient for the EU to meet its 20 percent energy efficiency target, although the implementation of EU legislation on energy efficiency in Member states remains weak (almost all 28 EU Member States were subject to infringement procedure for not having notified the EU Commission about the national measures to transpose the Energy Efficiency Directive of 2012 into national law by the deadline of June 2014).
The European Union is formalizing a new set of climate and energy goals for 2030. In October 2014 the EU Council endorsed a binding target of at least 40 percent domestic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels, an EU-wide goal of at least 27 percent of renewable energy consumption, and an indicative target at EU level of at least 27 percent for improving energy efficiency respect to the business-as-usual scenario.
(Image: Offshore wind farm in Thanet, England, September 2010. Photo credit: Nuon/Flickr)