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Renewable Energy In The EU

March 10, 2016

By Paul Homewood         


One of the main planks of the EU’s climate policy is the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which mandates that 20% of the energy consumed within the European Union is renewable by 2020.

However, as different countries in the EU had wildly differing circumstances, each was given their own national target. So, for instance, Sweden, which was already producing 30% of its energy from hydropower in 2005, was targeted for 49%, whereas the Netherlands was given 14%. The UK’s target was 15%.

Although the RED was published in 2009, most of the work on it had been done by 2007, so how have individual countries fared since?


The graphs below relate to the top 10 energy consumers in the EU. First, a look at progress towards the 2020 targets.




Noticeably, Sweden, Czech Republic and Italy have already hit the target, and well above in Sweden’s case. Most others still have a fair way to go.


But now, let’s home in on how much the renewable share has increased since 2005.




Again, we find that Sweden and Italy top the list. But it is also apparent that the UK’s performance is a long way from being the worst, and is better than Poland, Netherlands and France, and similar to Belgium’s.

There is constant carping from environmental groups, Labour and Lib Dems, and, not least, the renewable lobby that the UK is some sort of laggard in these matters. Clearly, we are not the only ones!





All data is from Eurostat

  1. sean2829 permalink
    March 10, 2016 4:24 pm

    I heard that France wants to have 50% renewable energy generation in 10-15 years time. They also want to reduce from 75% to 50% the portion of electricity which is derived from nuclear. Can anyone make sense of this?

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      March 10, 2016 9:21 pm


      It is simple; they will reduce the reliable, non CO2 emitting nuclear output by a third and replace them with unreliable, non CO2 emitting wind turbines.
      That way they avoid the cost of renewing some nuclear plants and take on the cost of those turbines. The electricity bills will rise but the Government knows the French are placid people not given to complaining.

      And if the wind turbines aren’t working thy will be able to import electricity from the german wind farms. To quote our host “What could go wrong?”

    • March 11, 2016 8:38 pm

      It is not true that the operation of wind turbines emits no CO2, Even without considering he backup spinning reserve necessary, have you noticed the helicopter pad on every nacelle? Those beasts, unlike real turbines, have at least four places where parts move relative to each other, to wit, the turntable that keeps it pointed into the wind, and the necsity of feathering the blades.These all need lubrication.

  2. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 11, 2016 9:42 am

    I think the interseting development is the rate at which major EU power companies are approaching bankruptcy.

  3. March 11, 2016 8:17 pm

    Renewable is ok, as much as they don’t interfere with climate, as, for example, the offshore wind farms, which may have a role in the regional warming:

  4. March 11, 2016 8:30 pm

    My supplier, Dominion Power in Virginia, gets 48% of its energy from nuclear. One third of that comes from plutonium generated, presumably by evil forces, within the reactor. That plutonium is a resource that did not exist when the fuel rods were manufactured, so I assert that it constitutes a renewable resource.
    16% of the energy delivered by Dominion is renewable, AND dependable.
    So if the EU would even acknowledge that, their targets could be met.

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