BRUSSELS – The European Union produced 17.5 percent of its power needs from renewable sources in 2017, while 11 of the bloc’s 28 members had already achieved a 2020 goal of 20 percent or more, the latest data released by Eurostat showed.
Renewables, such as wind, solar and hydro power, accounted for 17 percent of the energy mix in the EU in 2016 and 8.5 percent in 2004, the first year for which figures were available, Eurostat said.
The 2020 target is a stepping stone to the goal of 32 percent in 2030.
“The EU is on track to meet its 2020 renewable target, with 11 member states already above their national targets,” said Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, who has called for the bloc to aim for net zero emissions.
The report said Sweden had the highest share of renewable energy consumption, with more than half its energy coming from renewable sources in 2017. Luxembourg had the lowest proportion, with renewables accounting for just 6.4 percent of energy use.
The Netherlands, France, Ireland, Britain, Poland and Belgium were among EU nations still a few percentage points off their 2020 objective, as of 2017.
European Environment Agency said last year the bloc’s shift toward renewable energy was slowing, putting its ability to meet its 2020 and 2030 targets at risk.
The targets are part of the bloc’s overall drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement to keep global warming well below 2 degrees.