Overall, the European Union should achieve the 20% renewable energy target set in 2008 as part of the climate change package. But this collective result masks contrasting individual performances.
With 17.5% of renewables consumed in 2017, the EU seems to be on track to reach its target of 20% of green energy sources (hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, etc.) by 2020. As this proportion has been distributed among the Member States with targets ranging from 10% to 49% depending on their respective situation and potential, their level of progress is very diverse, according to figures from the European Statistical Office Eurostat.
Hydroelectricity and wind power in Northern Europe
At the top of the class are the Scandinavian countries. starting with Sweden, rich in water resources that provide 40% of its electricity production and in biofuels for heating.
In Denmark, wind power (including offshore wind) accounts for 43% of electricity needs, rewarding a proactive investment policy started in the 1970s. Biofuels and waste are also mainly used for electricity. heating.
At the other end of the scale, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are seen as donkey caps, with respectively 6.6% and 6.4% renewable energy in their national mix. Despite, for the first, investments in offshore wind in the North Sea. Under pressure from the NGO Urgenda, the judiciary recently ordered the state to revise upward its climate ambitions and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% in 2020 compared to 1990.
France will not reach its target for 2020
The French state is also the subject of legal action for “failures” to its obligation to act against global warming led by the NGOs “Our affair to all”, the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, Oxfam and Greenpeace.
And, while eleven of them have already passed, our country belongs to the group of member states that are likely to fail to achieve their goal, since France still has only 16.3% of green energy (essentially hydropower and wood, ahead of biofuels) in its mix in 2017, while its target is 23% in 2020.
The government has committed to shutting down 14 nuclear reactors by 2035 and shutting down four coal plants by 2022, provided that security of supply is guaranteed.
Germany, between renewables and coal
Germany is often used as an example for its achievements in renewable energies, but nevertheless suffers from an important use of coal. Thus, while wind and solar power have grown strongly in recent years, they only account for 15.5% of the final energy consumed in 2017, compared with a target of 18% in 2020. In parallel, it draws 37% of its electricity and 30% of its coal heating. Discussions are underway in the first European economy in a framework law on climate protection to stop a date of release of this highly polluting energy, which could be between 2035 and 2038.
For 2030, the European Union is committed to increasing the share of renewables to 32% of its energy consumption.