Nine European Union members hit their 2020 renewable energy targets by 2014, but the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, and France face challenge to deliver on legally binding goals.
According to new 2014 data released by the EU the UK, France, Ireland and the Netherlands are lagging behind other EU Member States in the rush to meet legally-binding renewable energy targets for 2020.
The British environmental news website BusinessGreen reports, France, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland were shown to be furthest away from their goals, raising fears some countries will fail to meet the targets, running the risk of multi-million euro fines.
Each Member State has its own 2020 renewable energy share target, weighted according to each country’s differing starting points, renewable energy potential and economic performance.
BusinessGreen reports in contrast, some countries have already cruised past their targets.
For example in Sweden, which has a 2020 target for sourcing 49 per cent of energy from renewable sources, renewable energy already accounted for 52.6 per cent of the total energy mix in 2014.
Meanwhile, Croatia’s target for 2020 is 20 per cent, but by 2014 the total contribution of renewable energy already surpassed this, hitting 27.9 per cent.
In November the Conservative government’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd admitted the UK is off-course for its 2020 targets.
In a leaked letter she revealed that lack of progress on renewable heat and transport fuels meant the UK was currently predicted to fall short of its 15 per cent target.
The government has subsequently promised to come forward with a plan to ensure the 2020 target is met.
In related news, figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) revealed that China has overtaken the EU to become the world’s top region for wind power, adding an “astonishing” 30 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity.
The country’s total wind capacity is now 145.1GW, the largest anywhere in the world.
It is the first time China has overtaken the EU in the race for wind energy, despite the trading bloc adding 12.8GW of new wind installations last year, taking its total capacity to 141.6GW.
“Wind power is leading the charge in the transition away from fossil fuels,” Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC, said in a statement.
“Wind is blowing away the competition on price, performance and reliability, and we’re seeing new markets open up across Africa, Asia and Latin America which will become the market leaders of the next decade.”