Renewable energy production must grow fast to reach the 2020 target

News Published 02 Feb 2011 Last modified 21 Jun 2016
1 min read
Europe has committed to obtain 20 % of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. An analysis of the 27 EU Member State action plans shows that renewable energy output is projected to grow by 6 % per year on average. Wind power, solar electricity and biofuels are foreseen to contribute with the highest growth rates. If all Member States follow the trajectory outlined in their plans, the EU will exceed its 20 % renewable energy target by 0.7 percentage points.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has supported the compilation of a database that holds key data from all the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs). The database facilitates the comparison of figures across technologies and between Member States.

Key aggregate data from the 27 National Action Plans:

  • Electricity will make up 42 % of total renewable energy production, with wind power supplying 41 % of renewable electricity;
  • 46 % of all renewable energy production will be used for heating and cooling, with biomass accounting for 78 % of renewable heating and cooling output;
  • Transport will use the smallest proportion of the renewable energy produced (12 %), but is the fastest growing element between 2005 and 2020.
  • Total renewable energy production is projected to increase from 99 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2005 to 245 Mtoe in 2020 corresponding to an average annual growth rate of 6 %.

The renewable energy projections are also presented in graphs and tables in a data report. Detailed data for all 27 EU Member States are displayed together with the aggregate EU-27 figures. Moreover, derived indicators allow a comparison of country projections on a per capita basis or relative to land area.


Projected renewable energy consumption breakdown

Figure from data report. Projected renewable energy consumption breakdown for all 27 European Member States by the year 2020, as published in 27 separate NREAP documents. The blue, orange and green coloured pies represent the shares of renewable electricity, heating & cooling and transport, respectively. 

Background information on the NREAPs

The EU climate and energy package has three main goals for 2020: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 %; improving energy efficiency by 20 %; and generating 20 % of energy consumption from renewable energy. In order to support the renewable energy objective, each Member State has been requested to submit plans (NREAPs) detailing how they will reach their individual targets.