Renewables growth cuts emissions 7%

Greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 were 7% lower than they would have been if renewable energy had not made considerable progress in recent years, according to a report from the European Environmental Agency (EEA).

The EEA’s Renewable Energy in Europe report also found that while the renewable heating and cooling market sector remained the dominant consumer of renewables in 2013, the renewable electricity sector grew faster and contributed the most to absolute growth in renewables use across all EU countries. Renewables – mostly solar PV and wind – accounted in 2012 for almost 70% of new electrical capacity. However, the use of renewables in transport contracted in 2013 in about half of all member states and also at EU level. T&E said this is mostly due to environmental concerns over the sustainability of biofuels and the deadlock created with the reform of EU biofuels policy.
 
The overall trend suggests the EU is on track to get 20% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020 – one of the interim targets to ensure Europe remains on course for its 2050 low-carbon goals. But there are large discrepancies between the contributions being made by the 28 EU member states. The EU’s renewable energy target for 2030 is at least 27% and the Commission said in its Energy Union communication that it wants Europe to become a global leader on renewables.