11 EU member states already above 2020 renewable energy targets

Renewable energy provided 17.5% of the European Union’s power needs in 2017, while 11 of its 28 members have already achieved the 2020 target of 20% or more, according to latest data released by Eurostat.

The figures showed a 0.5% increase on 2016 when renewables accounted for 17% of the bloc’s energy supply, and a significant rise on the 8.5% in 2004 – the first year for which figures were available.

“The EU is on track to meet its 2020 renewable target, with 11 member states already above their national targets,” said climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, who has called for the bloc to aim for net zero emissions in the long term.

The 2020 target is a stepping stone towards the 2030 goal of reaching 32% renewable energy.

Looking at individual EU members, Sweden led the way with more than half its energy coming from renewable sources in 2017. Meanwhile, Luxembourg had the lowest share of renewables with just 6.4% of its total energy use.

The Netherlands, France, Ireland, Britain, Poland and Belgium were among EU nations still a few percentage points off their 2020 objective in 2017.

However, last year the European Environment Agency said the EU’s shift towards renewables was slowing, putting its ability to meet its 2020 and 2030 targets at risk.