EU Exceeds Target for 20% Renewable Energy by 2020

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Finland, which already gets 30% of its energy from renewable sources, has a new 2020 target to make that 38%. Sweden, which already gets 42%, now has a target of 50% by 2020.

National Renewable Energy Action Plans published at Renewable Energy Focus show that averaged across the EU, 34% of EU electricity demand could be supplied from renewable sources by 2020, with 14% coming from wind alone. Overall, most of the member states are on target to either meet or exceed the original 20% by 2020 targets.

For the more advanced countries in the EU, that already get a higher percentage of renewable energy, higher targets for renewables are now being set. As each goal is being met earlier and easier, higher ones are being set in place.

The advanced nations there are like the US blue states here, in terms of energy policy, except they are years ahead of our blue states. Only Maine, which has already exceeded its goal of 30%, and is currently getting 40% from renewable energy, (and if you count hydro: 55%) is comparable with Sweden or Finland. Maine set its goal for 2000.

Europe signed Kyoto in 1997, and like Maine, began early. In the US, there has been no Federal policy, but starting during the Bush years, out of despair at the lack of climate change action, the blue states started passing state policy that required utilities to buy more renewable energy. The most ambitious of these are California which plans 33% by 2020 and Colorado which has  just set a 30% goal.

As Maine’s example shows, the earlier you start, the sooner you get some real results. Starting from a mere handful of states in 2000, by 2009 30 states had passed an RES. What’s left is the red states, most of them oil and coal dependent, and five of which are more than 90% powered by coal.

But Europe has its own backward nations too, just as we have red states that send Senators to congress to prevent action on renewable energy. For example, nearly 100% oil-powered Malta is dragging its feet in meeting just 10% by 2020 and may not make it. According to the EU tally, Luxembourg is lagging its goal of just 11%. Former soviet satellite states the Czech Republic and Hungary are only being asked to try for 13% by 2020, and the former is struggling to meet it.

But some other former Soviet puppet states are doing surprisingly well. Latvia, which shares the Baltic Sea with Sweden and Finland, is on target to make 40%. Even Romania and Slovenia are on target to get 24% and 25%.

Image: Frogdog

Susan Kraemer@Twitter

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