A rise in energy consumption in Europe, particularly in the transport sector is causing a slowdown in EU efforts to reach renewables and energy efficiency targets, says the European Environment Agency (EEA) in its latest report. The slowdown is putting at risk the European Union‘s ability to meet its 2020 and 2030 targets.
Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, accounted for a 17.4 per cent share of gross final energy consumption in the EU last year, according to the EEA’s preliminary data, up from 17.0 per cent in 2016.
This indicates that the EU remains on track to reach its target of a renewables share of 20 per cent by 2020, although the report said the pace of growth had slowed.
The agency said there was insufficient progress towards a 10 per cent target for renewables use in transport by 2020.
“With 2020 approaching, the trajectories needed to meet the national targets are becoming steeper. Increased energy consumption and persisting market barriers are hindering the uptake of renewables in several member states,” the report said.
Preliminary EEA data for 2017 showed 20 member states were on track to reach their individual targets on renewable energy by 2020, a decline from 2016 when 25 countries were on track.
On energy efficiency, both primary and final energy consumption were above the trajectory needed towards 2020. The continued growth in energy consumption, particularly in transport but also in other sectors, made achieving the 2020 target increasingly uncertain, the report said.
The EU also has new targets for 2030 but the report said current trends would not be enough to reach them, and additional and more ambitious efforts would be needed in the coming decade.
By the end of this year, member states must submit the first draft of their national energy and climate plans to help them achieve targets for 2030.