LONDON: The European Union is making considerable progress towards the 2020 European target of 20% renewable energy use, new figures from the Eurostat database highlight.
The data shows that in 2012, sustainable energy was estimated to have contributed 14.1% of gross final energy consumption, compared with just 8.3% in 2004.
Member States such as Sweden, Denmark and Austria have recorded the greatest increases, with renewable power now accounting for over half of Sweden’s energy. Indeed, by the end of 2012 the Nordic nation had already met its national 2020 target.
Notably, a full eight years ahead of schedule, Bulgaria and Estonia also met their 2020 targets of 16% and 25% respectively in 2012.
The current EU target for 2030 is 27% renewable energy--which is defined as solar thermal and photovoltaic energy, hydro (including tide, wave and ocean energy), wind, geothermal energy and biomass (including biological waste and liquid biofuels), with a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels.
Since 2004, the first year for which Eurostat's clean energy data is available, the share of renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy has risen in all EU Member States.
However, some Member States have yet to make a meaningful renewable transition. Malta, Luxembourg and the UK’s renewable energy stands at less than 5% of total final energy consumption.
The Eurostat figures come just a week after a Euroborameter poll found that four out of five EU citizens believe that fighting climate change, along with greater energy efficiency, can boost the economy and employment.
Importantly, 90% of respondents believe it is important that their government set targets to increase use of renewables by 2030.
It is expected that EU leaders will seek to reach an agreement on the main elements of its 2030 environment and energy policy at the March meeting of the European Council.
By Alana Ryan