The EU is doing well on green power- as the UK exits via Renew Extra Weekly

February 01, 2020

With Climate Change at the top of the agenda, the EU aims to be the first carbon neutral continent, working towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with a new climate law being enacted soon. That’s taken some fighting for and fiddling, given the opposition from heavy coal users like Poland, but there’s a proposed Just Transition mechanism to help countries like that move to carbon neutrality, with nuclear excluded from support for this. So renewables should boom even more.
Renewables have certainly been doing well. Germany will soon get around half of its power from renewables, Portugal is already at over 54%, Denmark near 60%, while Sweden is at 66% and Austria over 70%. By 2030 some of these countries could be getting near 100% of their electricity from renewables and should also be beginning to meet significant shares of their heat and transport needs using renewables. Sweden already gets around 54% of all its energy from renewables, Norway and Iceland are both at around 70%. 
Many other European countries are also now moving ahead. For example, with its economy evidently recovering, the  new centre-right government in Greece aims to generate 61% of its power from renewables by 2030, with 7.7GW of solar & 7GW of wind capacity planned, up from 2.7 & 3 GW now. Hydro is at 3.7GW. It aims to close all lignite plants by 2028 and get 43% of its heating/cooling and 19% of its transport needs from renewables by 2030.
After a long period of retrenchment in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s leftwing coalition government has declared a ‘climate emergency’ & pledged to transition to renewable energy ‘to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050’.
That is not to say there are no problems, continued emissions from coal plants being the most obvious, with, notably, Poland resisting change on that. Germany is taking its time on its coal phase out too and France, still locked into nuclear, is moving quite slowly on renewables. But longer term, most of the countries in the EU have targets of getting to near 100% of power and in some cases all energy from renewables by 2050.  That is certainly seen as possible in some recent scenarios – although the current official EU renewable energy target is only 32% by 2030.


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