Renewables reach 23% of European Union energy consumption after ‘paradigm shift’

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
EU’s renewable energy share expected to reach 33.7% by 2030. Image: Ignitis Group.

The EU is on track to achieve between 22.8% to 23.1% renewables in gross final energy consumption in 2020 as the continent experiences a “clear paradigm shift” towards solar and wind.

That’s according to the European Commission (EC), which this week released a series of reports detailing the bloc’s progress towards its goal of becoming the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

The EC notes that the projected share of renewables has increased due to the impact of COVID-19 on energy demand, but these may not be sustained once economic activity is fully recovered.

While many individual EU member states are expected to outperform their climate targets, five are said to be at risk of not meeting objectives: Belgium, France, Poland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Looking towards 2030, the EU’s renewable energy share is expected to be as high as 33.7%, with green energy use forecasted to accelerate in the latter half of the decade.

“It is very positive to witness the progress that Europe has made, and will continue making, in reaching its energy and climate goals,” said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe. “Solar has seen the largest cost reductions of any renewable technology, major efficiency gains and innovations, such as floating solar and agri-PV.

Driven by capital costs reductions, advances in efficiency and competitive tendering for support schemes, solar and wind’s cumulative capacity in the EU reached 261GW as of 2018.

In the context of the COVID-19 recovery, the EC says Europe faces a “unique opportunity” for investments that can support economic growth while accelerating the green transition. “Relaunching our economies on any other path, which would result in lock-in into unsustainable practices, is simply not an option,” the report says.

PV manufacturing potential

Given the projected expansion of PV capacity across the EU and globally, Europe should have a “sizeable role” in the value chain and explore the growth of solar manufacturing, the EC said.

While EU companies are competitive mainly in the downstream part of the value chain – such balance of system – the bloc has “fallen back dramatically” in the manufacture of PV cells and modules, the report says, adding that the EU accounts for just 12.8% of the global production value of PV panels.

According to the EC, research institutes, a skilled labour force and emerging industry players provide a basis for re-establishing a strong European photovoltaic supply chain with a global outreach. A sizeable EU PV manufacturing industry “would also reduce the risk of supply disruptions and quality risks”, the report says.

Similar proposals were put forward earlier this week by consulting firm Capgemini Group, which is calling for the EU to ramp-up bifacial module production to help the continent reach zero.

Read Next

May 14, 2021
The PV industry “must remain vigilant” across its supply chain in meeting global human rights standards, trade association SolarPower Europe has said in a new sustainability report.
PV Tech Premium
May 14, 2021
While foreign investors are said to be flocking to Greece’s solar sector, project developers are struggling with headwinds in the form of grid access challenges and local resistance to new renewables plants. Jules Scully looks at how these hurdles are affecting PV deployment in the country.
PV Tech Premium
May 13, 2021
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is extending an olive branch to global policy makers to advance the country’s own renewable energy technology and meet President Biden’s climate targets. Edith Hancock has all the detail on how she intends to amend four years of faltering progress.
May 11, 2021
Europe’s solar technology specialists may need up to €7 billion (US$8.51 billion) in capital investment in order to scale up domestic manufacturing to be globally competitive, according to a panel of industry leaders.
PV Tech Premium
May 10, 2021
Andy Colthorpe takes a look at what’s happening and what’s expected to happen in the Japanese large-scale PV market, with data and analysis courtesy of RTS Corporation and interviews with Vena Energy Japan, Sonnedix Japan and Baywa Japan.
May 5, 2021
Europe’s solar industry has lauded the inclusion of a commitment to "re-ignite" Europe's solar manufacturing sector within the European Commission’s refreshed industrial strategy.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
May 26, 2021
Session 1 - 7:00 AM (BST) | Session 2 - 5:00 PM (BST)
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
August 24, 2021