Renewable energy: EU current position vs. 2020 targets

Europe - Jun 06 2019
  • #carbon/climate change

Renewable energy: EU current position vs. 2020 targets

In the latest document "Key figures for renewable energies, 2019 Edition" published on 28 May 2019 by the Commissariat Général au Développement Durable of the French Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, the institution compares the 2017 European countries share of energy produced from renewable sources in the gross final energy consumption with their transition objectives. Indeed, the European Union decided, when recasting the Renewable Energy Directive adopted at the end of 2018, to set a share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption of at least 20% in 2020 and 32% in 2030. In the graph below, we have presented the distance in points between the European countries’ actual share in 2017 and the 2020 targets.

Distance in points between the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final energy consumption in 2017 and the 2020 targets.

Source: Beyond ratings, CGDD– “Key figures for renewable energies, 2019 Edition”, Eurostat

First, it is noted that the Nordic countries and Croatia have outperformed their 2020 targets, while France, the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom are behind and are probably unlikely to meet their 2020 renewable energy targets. The European Union in 2017 is 2.5 points below the targets set for 2020, which suggests that it will be able to achieve them by the target date, but this depends strongly on the dynamics of the evolution of the share of renewable energies in EU countries.

These results, expressed in points, are obviously to be put into perspective in relation to the objectives set by the Member States for 2020 and the gross final energy consumption of 2017. Indeed, a delay like that of the Netherlands, which is 7.4 points short of its target of reaching a 14% share by 2020, is different from that of France, which is 6.7 points short of a target of reaching a 23% share by 2020. This is especially so if the gross final consumption of the Netherlands is currently 78 ktoe while that of France is 250 ktoe. However, the majority of countries that have outperformed their targets have fairly high targets (Croatia (20%), Denmark (30%), Sweden (49%), Estonia (25%) and Finland (38%)), while countries that have not yet achieved theirs have lower objectives in terms of renewable energy share (Netherlands (11%), United Kingdom (15%), Ireland (16%), Poland (15%) and Belgium (13%). France is in an intermediate position, currently ranking 15th with a share of 16.3% of its gross final consumption of energy from renewable sources (thanks to its large hydroelectric legacy), but in second last place in terms of distance to target : regardless of their starting point, all Member Countries have to add significant renewables capacity. According to the study, the delay observed in France concerns both the electrical (3.1 points between actual and target) and thermal (6.2 points difference) components. In the transport sector, the share of renewable energies exceeds the trajectory by 0.3 points in 2017.

Félix Fouret, Carbon/Climate Analyst
Source: Beyond Ratings, CGDD – “Key figures for renewable energies, 2019 Edition”, Eurostat

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