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Share of renewables in transport decreases: lots of work to be done to meet the 2030 goals

In 2021, the share of renewable sources in transport reached 9.1 per cent at the European Union level, a 1.2 percentage points (pp) decrease compared with 2020, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

This result means there is much work to be done to meet the 14 per cent target currently set for 2030 by the EU directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (including liquid biofuels, hydrogen, biomethane, green electricity and so on). According to this, in 2021, the EU was 4.9 pp below the 2030 target and 0.9 pp below the 2020 target.

Despite an increase in the use of renewable energy in transport in absolute terms compared with 2020, the decrease in the share is linked to both the increase in transport activities due to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Among the EU Member States, only two outperformed the 2030 target. Sweden (30.4 per cent) had a share around three times larger than that recorded in 25 EU Member States and more than double the 2030 target. It was followed by Finland (20.5 per cent), which also showed a very high use of renewables in transport. Sweden’s and Finland’s high shares are explained by the significant use of compliant biofuels in their transport fuel mix.

On the other hand, the lowest shares were registered amongst countries from Central and Eastern Europe, notably Greece (4.3 per cent), Poland (5.7 per cent), Latvia (6.4 per cent) and Lithuania (6.5 per cent), with one of the largest decreases from 2020 to 2021 registered in Hungary (-5.4 pp).

In particular, there were some cases in which the share of renewables substantially changed from 2020 to 2021. In Bulgaria, more than a 6 per cent decrease was registered, due to the inability to report a certain part of their solid and gaseous biofuels as compliant. This might change in the future once they can benefit from a certification procedure. In Estonia, around a 7.5 per cent increase was registered mainly because it started to report the use of heat pumps for heating purposes (which, although already existed, Estonia had not reported in the past).

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