According to a new publication issued this week by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, renewable energy in the EU has grown strongly in recent years, which has been prompted by the legally binding targets for renewable energy enacted by Directive 2009/28/EC.
In 2013, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy reached 15.0% in the European Union (EU), compared with 8.3% in 2004, the first year for which the data is available.
The share of renewables in gross final consumption of energy is one of the headline indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy. The target to be reached by 2020 for the EU is a share of 20% energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy.
EU Member States goals & targets
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.
Bulgaria, Estonia and Sweden reached their goal
Three out of the 28 EU Member States have already reached the level required to meet their national 2020 targets: Bulgaria, Estonia and Sweden.
Highest share of renewables in Sweden, lowest in Luxembourg
Since 2004, the share of renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy grew significantly in all Member States, with thirteen Member States having at least doubled their share of renewables over the last 10 years. With 52.1%, Sweden had by far in 2013 the highest share of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption of energy-
While the EU as a whole is on course to meet its 2020 targets, some Member States will need to make additional efforts to meet their obligations for the share of energy from renewable sources in the gross final consumption of energy.
Electricity generation from renewable sources
In 2013, gross electricity generation from renewables increased by 11 % compared with 2012. However, the picture varies depending on the energy source: from increase by 1 % for electricity generation from renewable waste to 20% increase for solar power. Between 1990 and 2012, total electricity generation from renewables increased by 177%. In 2013, renewable electricity generation accounted for 26 % of total gross electricity generation.
Solar power electricity generation has increased rapidly in recent years and in 2013 accounted for 10 % of all renewable electricity. Also, in 2013 the electricity generated from solar energy surpassed wood and other solid biomass and is now the third most important contributor to the electricity production from renewable sources.
Installed capacity for renewable electricity generation
The available capacity of renewable electricity generation has increased significantly over the last 20 years and from 2005 there was a boom in solar generation capacity.
Additional capacity increases for other renewables were much more modest than for these two. Solar and wind generation are intermittent energy sources: their utilisation rate is much lower than for those renewables used in conventional thermal power stations (as well as compared with fossil fuels and nuclear power).
Source: Share of renewables in energy consumption up to 15% in the EU in 2013 Press Release & Energy from renewable sources by Eurostat. Stats Image Credit: Eurostat. Featured Image Credit: Stuart Chalmers.