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January 07, 2011
EU Will Meet Renewable Energy Targets for 2020
    by Robert Kropp

An analysis by the European Wind Energy Association finds that just over 20% of the European Union's energy consumption will be provided by renewable sources by 2020.

In 2009, the European Commission (EC) established national renewable energy action plans (NREAPs) for its 27 member states, requiring them to meet a target of deriving at least 20% of their energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

According to a recent analysis by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) of the NREAPs submitted to the EC in 2010, the European Union (EU) is on track to meet 20.7% of its energy consumption, and 34% of electricity demand, from such renewable sources as wind, hydro, solar, and biomass by 2020.

The EWEA found that by 2020, wind energy will generate 14% of Europe's total electricity demand, more than any other renewable source. In 2009, wind accounted for 4.2% of the continent's demand. More than 36% of Ireland's electricity demand will be met by wind power by 2020, while Denmark will meet 31% of its demand by wind.

Of the 27 countries in the EU, 25 have submitted NREAPs that indicate they will meet or exceed their national targets. Fifteen of the countries will exceed their targets, led by Bulgaria, Spain, and Greece.

The remaining 20% of European electricity demand will be met by hydro (10.5%), biomass (6.6%), solar photovoltaic (2.4%), concentrating solar power (CSP, 0.5%), geothermal (0.3%), and ocean (0.1%).

According to the
WWF, political momentum is building to increase the target for energy consumption to 30% renewables by 2020, in order to meet the objective of an 80-95% decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

Jason Anderson, Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy at WWF, said, "European CO2 emissions have already dropped by more than 17%, and the EEA anticipates stable emissions even with economic recovery. That means the 20% target will require virtually no effort to achieve."

Anderson told, a media portal dedicated to EU affairs, "If you're considering your energy investment options, the one with a national binding target is probably the one you'll pay most attention to. In the constrained environment right now, we're seeing interest in coal-fired power stations dropping off significantly whereas wind power and other renewables are doing relatively well."


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