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Published on March 13th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


3 EU Countries Have Already Hit Their 2020 Renewable Energy Goals — You’ll Never Guess Them

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March 13th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
You might get one or two, but unless you’ve already read this story elsewhere, I’d bet plenty of cash that you can’t guess all three EU countries that have already hit their 2020 renewable energy targets. Countries that have yet to hit their targets include Germany, the UK (it’s far off), Spain, Portugal, and Denmark — countries that we write about a lot here on CleanTechnica for their clean energy progress. Check out the article below from Climate Central to find out who’s way ahead of schedule. And note that cheap wind power has been a key reason why they developed so much renewable energy so fast.

Three EU Countries Hit 2020 Renewable Benchmarks Early (via Climate Central)

By Brian Kahn Follow @blkahn Newly released data shows that three European Union member countries have already met their renewable energy goals for 2020. A number of other members are also well on their way to meeting their benchmarks, though some countries…

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on

  • JamesWimberley

    A lot of the criticism of the EU Commission’s policy proposals for 2030 was the replacement of a binding EU target for renewables by national targets. But it looks from this table that the national commitments for 2020 are already hugely variable. So much so that the metric of achieving them, and the headline medal table, is pretty uninformative.

    That said, surprises here include the surprisingly good performance of former Eastern Europe, including Poland. Others have noted the miserable failure of the UK and The Netherlands towards meeting comparatively undemanding targets.

  • mikgigs

    This is not true about Bulgaria. As a bulgarian citizen I know that green energy in Bulgaria is a big fraud and nothing to do with data.

  • jimbo

    Terrible looking progress for the UK. I hope we don’t get away with missing our target by pulling out of the EU! On a bright note, I did see a large farm sized solar array being built today as I drove down the M4. It must have been a few MW. There were actually workers putting the panels onto the frames, so in a few weeks it should be up and running. If we had a government that was genuinely interested in renewable energy, I think we could far surpass our targets.

  • wattleberry

    So far, so depressingly predictable in the UK. It seems that the English-speaking world is not noted for being particularly quick off the mark, beset as it is by challenges and obstacles which seem to be an inevitable, if at times infuriatingly irritating, consequence of our hard-won democratic rights.
    Nonetheless, as the NPD Solarbuzz article, by coincidence also out today, well describes, when allowed to have their heads without undue official interference, they can still show an exhilarating ability to romp along at an amazing pace.

  • Ross

    A number of those countries could be accused of resting on their laurels. Already close to the 2020 target but with slow progress towards it: Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Finland and last but not least Norway.

    • Zachary Shahan

      one reason a 30% target would be good….

  • arne-nl

    Yay! My country is 3rd.

    From the bottom.

    • andereandre

      I am as ashamed as you are.

    • Zachary Shahan

      haha, i read your first line and thought, “what? NL was doing horrible.”

      such a shame. such a leader in other ways.

      • andereandre

        We still seem to have that reputation, but it is a long time ago that we even remotely deserved it (or do you mean our leadership as the tax evasion and money laundering hub of the world?).

        • Zachary Shahan

          i mostly think about bicycling/city planning.

      • Hans

        The Dutch renewable energy politics has never properly been thought through, every new government introduced a new ad-hoc support mechanism and new rules. Not really the basis for a flourishing industry. The idea that a consistent support could spur technology development and drive down prices never entered the mind of the designers of these flawed regulations. The only good news is/was the silent PV revolution that is taking place due to net-metering and the current low prices for PV systems. However, this will be killed in 2017 too. It is unclear what will happen after 2017.

        It is such a shame that a country that will be hit hard by climate change (about a third of the area is below sealevel) is doing so little to fight it. Typical Dutch short sighted cheapness.

        (By the way it is also typically Dutch to complain about the Netherlands)

        • Eric Cuijpers

          As long as NL sits on its gasbubble we will remain in the lowest league

  • No way

    My guess was Sweden, Estonia and Romania. So not far from it. But it would have been even more interesting if a third bar was added showing the % of fossil fuel free energy.
    That would really show the environmentally unfriendly and big polluters.

    • Zachary Shahan

      Estonia was not on the map for me. Big surprise.

      • No way

        It’s not only a beautiful country to visit but the progress during the last 10 years has been amazing to follow. It’s becoming a mini-Nordic country and has really taken advantage of strong bonds to its nordic neighbours.
        And it’s not only catching up but has also shamed it’s neighbours by building the worlds first nationwide fast charging network (less than 50 km to a fast charger from any point in the country).

  • StefanoR99

    How do the EU member states (countries) compare to the states in the US?

    • Zachary Shahan

      you mean in % from renewables?

      • StefanoR99

        Yes, would love to know how the US is doing in comparison to Europe. I’m living in California right now, after emigrating from the UK…

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m assuming hydro is included in those numbers.

          If so, the US is producing about 13% from all renewables. That puts it in about the middle of the EU countries.

          • No way

            It would put the US in spot number 18, in the lower middle.

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