Three European Union member states – Bulgaria, Estonia and Sweden – had exceeded their renewable energy targets for 2020 in 2013, the bloc’s statistics board Eurostat said on March 10.
EU’s Europe 2020 strategy envisions that 20 per cent of the bloc’s energy consumption by 2020 should come from renewable energy sources, although individual countries were set their own targets, based on their different starting positions, renewable energy potential and economic performance.
In Bulgaria’s case, this target is 16 per cent, which the country matched in 2012. A year later, the share of renewable energy in total consumption rose to 19 per cent – despite routine restrictions put in place by grid operator ESO on solar power producers to prevent grid overload.
Bulgaria’s task was made easier by the fact that its target is lower than those set for 16 other EU member states and the bloc average. Still, the country ranks 11th in the EU in terms of the share of renewable energy in domestic consumption.
Sweden, which has the highest renewable energy target at 49 per cent, held the largest share of renewable energy at 52.1 per cent (an increase of one percentage point compared to 2012). Estonia, for its part, exceeded its target of 25 per cent for a third year running with 25.6 per cent of renewable energy in domestic consumption.
Three other countries – Italy, Lithuania and Romania – were within 0.5 percentage points of matching their Europe 2020 targets. The Netherlands (at 9.5 percentage points), France (8.8 percentage points) and Ireland (8.2 percentage points) were the furthest away from their respective targets, Eurostat said.
The EU average in 2013 was 15 per cent of renewable energy in final consumption, up from 8.3 per cent in 2004, the first year for which the data is available.
(Electricity power-generating windmills at wind farm Kaliakra Bulgaria. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)