Slow progress on renewable energy

Back in 2009, all EU member states committed themselves to a binding agreement that at least 20% of the EU's total energy consumption should come from renewable sources by 2020.

In addition to this overall figure, each individual member had its own particular target, reflecting the fact that each country was starting form a different base. At the top of the tree was Sweden, already producing just under 40% in 2005, and agreeing to a target of 49% – and at the bottom (excluding only Malta) was the UK, with only 1.3% of its energy consumption coming from renewables in 2005, and agreeing to a target of 15%.

There are biennual progress reports, and the 2014 figures were published last week. It looks like the target is going to be met.

     

However, when it come to the progress of individual member states, the picture is quite varied. Nine have got there aleady: Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Czechia, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. Denmark and Austria are almost there. But at the bottom of the pile, four member states are a long way behind: France, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland.

     

Once again, the UK shows that it is not particularly good at keeping its end of the bargain when it comes to the agreements it makes as an EU member state. We need to catch up fast, even if the UK were to meet the 2020 target, the agreed overall figure for 2030 is at least 27%.

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