EU on track to meet 2020 energy targets
On 1 December, the European Environment Agency (EEA) announced that the European Union was on track to reach the renewable energy and emissions cuts targets fixed for 2020.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said. “The EU’s 2020 targets on energy and climate are now well within reach.”
He also said: “But certain trends are alarming, in particular for transport. In that sector, renewable energy use remains insufficient and greenhouse gas emissions are rising again.”
The EU has reached 16.4 per cent of energy consumption from renewables in 2016 which makes it plausible that it will achieve the target of 20 per cent of gross final energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020.
According to the report, the warm winter at the beginning of 2015 – which meant lower heating demand – balanced with the slightly increased in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
With a reduced energy consumption of 11 per cent in 2015 compared to 2005, the EU is close to achieving another of its targets to reduce energy consumption by 13 per cent.
Under the Paris Agreement, Europe committed to ensure renewable energy accounts for 27 per cent of energy use by 2030, and to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent compared to 1990 levels.
By 2050, the bloc plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent.
The EEA said that meeting the 2030 target for renewable energy would “require additional efforts because regulatory changes affect investors’ confidence in renewables, while market barriers persist.”
The target will also need “effective implementation of energy efficiency measures as well as a rapid change in consumer behaviour.”
On Wednesday, the EU released new clean energy plans to boost renewables, cut waste and reduce subsidies for coal power in a bid to meet its commitments under the Paris climate deal.
Binding energy efficiency targets would also be raised by 30% by 2030 under the sweeping package of measures from the European commission.
But environmental groups have accused the bloc of doing too little to end subsidies for carbon-spewing coal power plants, and of undermining investments in renewables.