Europe and Renewable Energy
The European Union (EU)27 will exceed its target of meeting 20 % of its gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020. Today the European Wind Energy Association published its analysis of the 27 National Renewable Energy Action Plans, submitted by the EU Member States to the European Commission. "Taken together the Action Plans show that the EU-27 will meet 20.7 % of its 2020 energy consumption from renewables", said Justin Wilkes, Policy Director of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The countries of the European Union are currently the global leaders in the development and application of renewable energy. Promoting the use of renewable energy sources is important both to the reduction of the EU's dependence on foreign energy imports, and in meeting targets to combat global warming.
The National Action Plans show that one third (34%) of EU electricity demand will be supplied from renewables by 2020.
Wind energy will generate 14% of Europe’s total electricity demand in 2020, more than any other renewable source, up from 4.2% in 2009. Ireland will be the country with the highest wind energy penetration level at 36.4% of its total electricity demand, followed by Denmark at 31%.
15 Member States plan to exceed their national target, led by Bulgaria at +2.8% above their target, Spain (+2.7%), Greece (+2.2%), Hungary (+1.7) and Germany (+1.6%). 10 Member States will meet their national target, and just two Member States, Luxembourg (-2.1%) and Italy (-0.9%), have informed the European Commission that they will not.
The 34% of EU electricity demand met by renewables in 2020 is made up of 14% from wind energy, 10.5% from hydro power, 6.6% from biomass, 2.4% from solar photovoltaic, and the rest from other small sources.
The record of meeting such goals in EU has been good. Some examples follow:
Spain as a whole had the target of generating 30% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2010, with half of that amount coming from wind power. In 2006, 20% of the total electricity demand was already produced with renewable energy sources, and in January 2009 the total electricity demand produced with renewable energy sources reached 34.8%.
By 2004 4.65% of the UK's primary energy requirements were being generated from renewable energy sources (including hydroelectricity), up from 2.55% in 1990. The UK Government energy policy expects that the total contribution from renewables should rise to 10% by 2010.