Benelux tail-enders in EU’s renewable energy goals
On Thursday European Union published the ranking of the Member States for renewable energy. Especially the traditional industrial countries in the core of Europe – the Benelux, France, Germany, the UK, but also Poland – are failing well.
A serious leap is still needed there to achieve the EU’s 2020 targets: a 20% share of renewable energy in total energy consumption. This includes not only electricity consumption but also other energy use, such as motor fuels.
At the end of this year, the EU Member States will receive their first climate report. This will show whether or not they have achieved these EU’s 2020 targets. At the end of 2018, the EU had an average of 18%. That figure will have risen somewhat by 2019, leaving only one year to reach the final target. In 2017, the percentage was 17,5. In 2030 the target will be 32%.
Scandinavia on top
Some countries have already succeeded and are above their personal target. This is the case for Sweden, the country of climate activist Greta Thunberg. It had already exceeded the ambitious goal of almost 50% in 2018. Neighboring countries Finland and Denmark are also ahead of schedule. In Northern Europe, a lot of energy is used from hydropower and wind. Bulgaria also scores well, as well as the Czech Republic, Italy, and Greece. Portugal is close to the target.
The Netherlands dangling behind
Belgium is at the back of the classification, with only Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands behind it. The Netherlands, traditionally an oil and gas country, has been low on the EU list for years.
In 2018, only 7% of all energy in the Netherlands was produced from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, and biomass. For 2019, the percentage of renewable energy in the Netherlands is 8,6%. Minister Wiebes of Economic Affairs & Clima himself previously acknowledged that the national target of 14% in 2020, will be far from being achieved.
In that case, the Netherlands is threatened with fines from the EU. To prevent this, Wiebes will have to go in discussions with the Member States that have percentages of renewable energy, to see whether part of this can be statistically transferred to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands also expects to catch up in renewable energy with the construction of large offshore wind farms. These wind farms will only be completed after 2020 and therefore do not yet count for the European targets in 2020.