17 February, Brussels – New figures from the European Environment Agency show Europe to be on track to meet its target of 20% renewable energy use by 2020, with renewables accounting for 14.9% of consumption in 2013, versus an interim target of 12%.
Sweden, Latvia, Finland and Austria are leading the way, with each country generating over a third of their energy from renewable resources. Meanwhile, Malta, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK are all below 5%. The renewable heating and cooling sector was the largest contributor to overall renewable energy in the EU, but it is the electricity market which is growing fastest.
Whilst both sectors are growing, it is slower than in previous years. This has been attributed to weaker growth in solar photovoltaics and solid biomass as a result of changes to national support schemes. The use of renewables in the transport sector has actually dropped, as a result of weak political support.
The EEA used the opportunity of the publication to call for greater policy intervention. Hans Bruyninckx, the Executive Director of the EEA, noted that, “Renewable energy is quickly becoming one of Europe’s great success stories. We can go even further: if we support innovation in this area it could become a major motor of Europe’s economy, bringing down emissions while creating jobs.”
Click here to read the EEA report, ‘Renewable energy in Europe – approximated growth and knock-on effects.’