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

April 14, 2021
There is likely to be demand across Europe for producing hydrogen from renewable energy, but the right regulatory frameworks and legislation need to be in place for the green hydrogen industry to find success.
April 8, 2021
Green hydrogen may become cheaper than natural gas by 2050, falling by 85% over the next 30 years, but declining costs in the solar sector will be crucial for the nascent technology's growth.
March 30, 2021
Australian utility AGL Energy has proposed a structural separation of the company that would involve the creation of two separate businesses: one focused on energy retailing and the other on large-scale electricity supply.
March 29, 2021
Despite additional solar and wind contributing to a record reduction in global coal generation last year, new renewable energy projects are still not being built quickly enough to keep pace with rising electricity demand.
PV Tech Premium
March 17, 2021
California’s path to a carbon-free electricity will require record-breaking solar deployment for the next 25 years. But as solar installs stay above track, what else is needed for California to reach its zero carbon goal? A new joint report has the answers.
March 3, 2021
EDP, Iberdrola and BayWa r.e. are among the signatories of a new charter that calls on Europe to “accelerate and massively deploy” additional renewables capacity to support the continent’s green hydrogen ambitions.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
April 20, 2021
Upcoming Webinars
April 28, 2021
4:00 - 4:30 PM CET
Solar Media Events
May 11, 2021