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1 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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How Europe is faring on renewable energy targets

AFP, Paris
How Europe is faring on 
renewable energy targets
The European Union's use of renewable energy such as hydropower, wind and solar reached 17.5 per cent in 2017. AFP PHOTO

The European Union's use of renewable energy -- such as hydropower, wind and solar -- reached 17.5 per cent in 2017, keeping it on track for a target of 20 per cent by 2020.

Each member state has its own renewable energy goal, based on its situation and potential, ranging from 10 to 49 per cent.

While 11 countries in the bloc have already surpassed their targets, others are lagging behind, according to EU statistics authority Eurostat.

With the target for 2030 at 32 per cent, Eurostat says: "While the EU as a whole is on course to meet its 2020 targets, some member states will need to make additional efforts to meet their obligations."

Europe's renewable energy leaders are Nordic countries: Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

Since 2012 more than half of the total energy consumed in Sweden has come from renewable sources, according to the International Energy Agency.

This is due in large part to hydroelectric power, which provides more than 40 per cent of the country's electricity output. Swedes heat themselves mainly with biofuels.

Denmark -- a small, flat country long dependent on energy imports -- now

gets 43 per cent of its electricity from wind power

after investment starting in the late 1970s when it

began phasing out coal plants.

Luxembourg and the Netherlands are the EU countries with the lowest consumption of renewables, reaching 6.4 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively.

Despite its investment in offshore wind farms, the Netherlands is the furthest from reaching its targets. Yet, with a part of the country lying below sea level, it is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.

In 2015 the Netherlands was one of the first countries to rule on a climate case, with a court ordering the state to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 per cent by 2020.

Inspired by the Dutch decision, four environmental NGOs in March sued the French government for failing to uphold its commitments on fighting climate change.

In 2017 France reached 16.3 per cent of energy consumption from renewables, compared to its 23 per cent target for 2020.

Wood and hydropower are the main sources of green energy in France, ahead of biofuels.

France has long preferred investment in nuclear power, from which it gets more than 70 per cent of its electricity.

The government has committed to closing 14 nuclear reactors by 2035 and shutting down four still-active coal power plants by 2022, on condition that it can guarantee secure electricity supplies.

Germany's renewable energy, which comes mainly from wind and solar power, reached just 15.5 per cent in 2017, while its 2020 objective is set at 18 per cent.

Coal remains the cornerstone of its energy policy, in part due to the government's decision in 2011 to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022.

Coal accounts for 37 per cent of Germany's electricity production and more than 30 per cent of its heating.

Europe's biggest economy intends to progressively phase out coal in order to respect its commitment to reducing polluting emissions. A new framework law on protecting the climate is expected in 2019.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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