The European Union has reached a 22.1 per cent share of its gross final energy consumption from renewable sources in 2020, around 2 percentage points above its target, according to the latest data by Eurostat.
This positive development and the achievement of the target has been prompted by the legally binding targets for increasing the share of energy from renewable sources. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the decrease of fossil fuel consumption, for example in the transport sector, probably played a role.
With more than half of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption of energy, Sweden (60 per cent) had by far the highest share among the EU Member States in 2020.
Seven countries from Central and Eastern Europe recorded higher shares than the EU average: Latvia (42 per cent), Croatia (31 per cent), Estonia (30.2 per cent), Lithuania (26.8 per cent), Slovenia (25 per cent), Romania (24.5 per cent) and Bulgaria (23.3 per cent). Despite not being in the Top 10, other CEE countries overachieved their targets, like Greece, Slovakia and Poland, the latter after revising its data on final energy consumption of solid biomass.
Overall, wind and hydropower accounted for more than two-thirds of the total electricity generated from renewable sources (36 and 33 per cent, respectively). The remaining one-third of the electricity generated was from solar power (14 per cent) and solid biofuels (8 per cent). In particular, solar power was the fastest-growing source: in 2008, it accounted for 1 per cent, this means that the growth in electricity from solar power has been dramatic, rising from just 7.4 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2008 to 144.2 TWh in 2020.
When it comes to specific sectors, over one-fifth of energy used for heating and cooling came from renewable sources. Developments in the industrial sector, services and households contributed to this growth. Austria leads at 78.2 per cent. Within CEE, Croatia, Latvia and Romania all scored above the EU average. On the other hand, Hungary comes almost last with only 13.8 per cent.
In the transport sector, the EU agreed to set a common target of 10 per cent for the share of renewable energy (including liquid biofuels, hydrogen, biomethane, green electricity) used by 2020. The average share of energy from renewable sources in transport increased from 1.6 per cent in 2004 to 10.2 per cent in 2020, therefore meeting the EU target. Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia overachieved while countries like Greece (5.3 per cent), Lithuania (5.5 per cent), Poland and Croatia (both 6.6 per cent) performed really poorly.