Good news from the European Environment Agency!

The new European Environment Agency report ‘Renewable energy in Europe — 2017 update’ confirms that the EU’s 20 % renewables target for 2020 is likely to be obtained. In 2016, the share of renewables in the EU final energy use reached the expected 16,9 %, ranging from more than 30 % in some countries (e.g. Austria, Denmark, Finland, Latvia) to less than 9 % in others (e.g. Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta). Renewable energy also accounted for 86 % of the EU’s new capacity for electricity generation installed in 2016. However, the growth rate of renewables in the EU’s gross final energy consumption has slightly decreased over the period 2005–2014.

The report states that the EU has outpaced the rest of the world transforming its energy system in the past decade, and is now a global leader in terms of renewable power capacity per capita. The EU decommissions more capacity from conventional sources than it installs, and the increased consumption of renewable energy has allowed the EU to cut its demand for fossil fuels and their associated greenhouse gas emissions by about one tenth, compared with a situation in which renewables remained at 2005 levels.

Increase in renewable energy production has also created new jobs in Europe, and the report shows that the EU was fourth in the share of renewable energy jobs per capita in 2016, after Brazil, Japan and the United States. Unfortunately, over the past five years jobs have been lost to China and other competing producers especially in the solar and wind power industry. For that reason, it is fundamental to maintain a lively domestic market by increasing the 2030 target from 27% to at least 35% with a strong governance system to ensure compliance and a linear deployment.

In order to maintain the leadership in the energy transition, the report calls for reinforcement and development of existing expertise within the EU, as well as of innovation capacity in renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. According to the report, a more systematic cooperation and coordination of national policies and measures between Member States could help reaching the objectives.

You can find the report here.

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