EU Agency Finds Renewable Energy Use Rising Quickly

(CN) – A European Union analysis of renewable energy use among its member states has found that energy sourced from the sun, wind, the tides and deep below the surface of the Earth accounted for 16.7 percent of the bloc’s energy consumption in 2015 — nearly double the share a decade earlier.

EU statistics agency Eurostat said this week that the rate of renewable energy consumption was up from 16.1 percent in 2014.

In 2004, the first year for which data are available, the figure was only 8.5 percent.

The report is a hopeful sign of the current state of renewable energy development in Europe. The EU’s target is to reach 20 percent across the bloc by 2020. And member states have already agreed on a new EU renewable energy target of at least 27 percent by 2030.

Eurostat said that 11 of the 28 EU countries have already reached their own national targets for 2020.

Since 2004, the share of renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy grew significantly in all Member States. Compared with a year ago, it has increased in 22 of the 28 Member States.

With more than half (53.9 percent) of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption of energy, Sweden had by far in 2015 the highest share, ahead of Finland (39.3 percent), Latvia (37.6 percent), Austria (33.0 percent) and Denmark (30.8 percent).

At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportions of renewables were registered in Luxembourg and Malta (both 5.0 percent), the Netherlands (5.8 percent), Belgium (7.9 percent) and the United Kingdom (8.2 percent).

Each EU member state has its own Europe 2020 target. The national targets take into account the member states’ different starting points, renewable energy potential and economic performance.

Among the 28 EU member States, eleven have already reached the level required to meet their national 2020 targets: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Finland and Sweden.

Moreover, Austria and Slovakia are about 1 percentage point from their 2020 targets. At the opposite end of the scale, the Netherlands (8.2 percentage points from reaching its national 2020 objective), France (7.8 percentage points), Ireland and the United Kingdom (both 6.8 percentage points) and Luxembourg (6.0 percentage points) are the furthest away from their targets.