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GROWTH OF RENEWABLES IN THE EU

New figures from leading European Union (EU) agencies Eurostat and the European Environment Agency (EEA) show that renewable energy’s share in the gross final consumption of energy reached 16.7% in 2015. That is nearly double the amount of 2004 (8.5%), when data collection first began. The EEA found that renewable energy use increased from 15% in 2013 to 16% in 2014. In 2015, renewables accounted for 77% of new electricity generating capacity. The figures show that the EU is on target to reach 20% energy from renewable sources by 2020. EU Member States have also agreed on a new renewable energy target of at least 27% by 2030.

FOSSIL FUEL SUBSTITUTION

Fossil-fuelled power has been severely impacted by the rise of renewables over the past decade, most especially coal-fired plants.

“Coal was the most substituted fuel across Europe, representing about one half of all avoided fossil fuels. It is followed by natural gas (28% of all avoided fossil fuels),” the EEA stated in its report “Renewable energy in Europe 2017: recent growth and knock-on effects”. In both 2014 and 2015, the largest reductions in fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions took place in Germany, Italy and the UK. These reductions are due to the uptake of renewable energy sources ”

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEMBER COUNTRIES

The EU may be on target for its overall goal but there is a wide gap in the progress of renewables within different member countries. Sweden had by far the highest share in 2015 with more than half (53.9%) of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption. Sweden is followed by Finland (39.3%), Latvia (37.6%), Austria (33.0%) and Denmark (30.8%). At the opposite end of the scale, Eurostat found that the lowest percentages of renewables were recorded in Luxembourg and Malta (both 5.0%), the Netherlands (5.8%), Belgium (7.9%) and the UK (8.2%).

FASTEST GROWING POWER SOURCE

Last year the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that global renewable energy growth was expected to outpace previous predictions. Wind and solar power are expected to continue dominating the sector. IEA stated that renewables would remain the fastest-growing source of power over the next five years. By 2021 it will represent 28% of global electricity capacity, up from 23% in 2015.

Source: Industrial Info Resources – 12 April 2017