Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) emphasise the relevance of reducing dependency on fossil fuels and sets the target of using at least 20% of renewable energy sources for energy consumption, as a common goal achieved differently by each of its member states.
As Climate Change risks increase, the measures to mitigate its consequence have to accompany in size and anticipate in implementation. The Paris Agreement demands bolder commitments and corresponding actions from all interested parties in solving this Global challenge. Consequently, the EU has revised its GHG emissions reduction targets and in 2018 announced stronger commitment in decarbonising the economy. It has increased the EU energy consumption target to 32% of renewable energy sources by 2030. Is it going at the right pace?
By 2019, 19% of the energy consumption in the EU-28 from renewable energy sources had already been achieved, according to IEA. In 2017, the most recent year of available data Europe’s consumption averaged 17.5% whilst globally that value averaged 13.6%. Europe is clearly a leader in Renewable Energy consumption and is doing so at a good pace. As it is clearly illustrated in the graphic below, constructed with EIA’s data, regulation has been key to attain that change. However, it is not enough. More is needed, not only within the European continent but also overseas. It would be great if many other countries and regions would follow EU’s example.
Regulation has also triggered new generation investments with corresponding commercial activity ramping up after the directive took effect. In 2010 renewable investments grew by 47%, entering then a steady phase of new investments to levels close to pre-renewable directive. Nevertheless, renewable generation has been prioritised in the energy mix to ensure cleaner sources. Generation has been slightly above consumption, as BP data suggests. This is not surprising given that electricity storage has been increasingly used in the past quinquennium. For 2019, renewable generation was 20.9%, as illustrated in the graphic below. The graphic shows the renewable generation percentage in the whole energy generation mix by region and the increase is clear from 2007 onwards, with great pace after 2009. It is very likely therefore that the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) has been indeed a success. We should be thankful to the EU for having set leadership in this matter. But we all should do more, too, in order to generate and release less GHG emissions.
As the year 2020 comes to an end, I’ve two main wishes. Firstly, that the vaccine reaches all countries and heard immunity is achieved by the beginning of Q2 2021 so we can resume our non-virtual lives. Secondly, that more sustainable behaviours are adopted by countries, businesses and society, in order to reduce GHG emissions and make another milestone in decoupling economic growth from GHG emissions intensity at world level.
2021 is 1 day away, what is your New Year resolution and how would you like next year to finish? If you haven’t thought about it, please see some of my suggestions for a Sustainable Year:
- Switch to Energy Suppliers that have been offering clean energy in their energy offer.
- Consume responsibly, meaning think twice if you’re going to use all or if you’re going to waste. You may be wasting finite resources.
- Use transports efficiently.
- Buy a natural plant for your home and/or office.
- Recycle, Reuse, Repair
- Influence those who are in your circle of influence to behave sustainable too.
Perhaps they may inspire you to take bold actions, too.
A safe, sustainable and successful 2021!