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Renewables Successfully Reducing Carbon Emissions in Europe
23 February 2015

eea_report_1_2015The technical report 'Renewable energy in Europe – approximated recent growth and knock-on effects', published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) this February, provides information about the renewable energies progress in 2013 at EU and country level and shows how carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fossil fuel use were avoided thanks to the increase in renewable energy consumption since 2005.

According to the study, without the contribution of wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energy technologies since 2005, greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 could have been 7% higher than actual emissions. The reduction in GHG emissions however was not only due to renewables, since other factors such as improved energy efficiency and changing economic factors also played a role.

The report also found that final consumption of renewable energy increased in all Member States to almost 15% by 2013, so the EU successfully reached and passed the 12% target set by the Renewable Energy Directive. Now the new target will be to generate at least 20% of energy using renewable sources by 2020, rising to 27% by 2030.

In Sweden, Latvia, Finland and Austria renewable energy made up more than a third of final energy consumption in 2013. At the other end of the scale, Malta, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the UK were all below 5%. The sector that contributed the most to renewable energy increase was the renewable heating and cooling market, but also renewable electricity was doing well.

While the European energy market is still relying on coal, oil, gas and other fossil fuels for three quarters of its final energy consumption, to meet ambitious decarbonisation targets renewable energy sources should increase to between 55 to 75% of final energy consumption by mid-century.

The report is available online on the EEA website

 

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