The EU will exceed its target to produce 20 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020, according to new analysis by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) released last week.
The report, which assessed all forms of renewable energy, found that 13 of the 27 EU member states are likely to meet their national targets for renewable energy capacity, with a further eight set to exceed their EU imposed goals.
Despite recent warnings from business groups that the UK will struggle to meet its target of generating 15 per cent of its energy from renewables by the end of the decade, the EWEA insisted that it remained on track to hit the goal.
In contrast, Bulgaria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg and Malta forecast that they are not currently on track to reach their 2020 targets through domestic action alone, although Bulgaria and Denmark said that with fresh national initiatives they could yet meet targets. None of the six countries expect to be more than one percentage point below their target.
Justin Wilkes, policy director of EWEA said: "Europe has witnessed a sea-change since the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive was agreed as in 2008 many countries were stating that their target would be difficult to meet – now the majority are forecasting that they will meet or exceed their national target."
Under the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, all countries are required to submit a National Action Plan to the European Commission by the end of June 2010, detailing how they will meet their targets.
Since the enactment of the directive, many countries have introduced more radical plans to accelerate the rollout of renewable energy technologies, such as the introduction of a feed-in tariff and proposed reforms to the planning system in the UK.
Spain and Germany are set to top the European league tables for renewable energy, with the Spanish government announcing it is on track to generate 22.7 per cent of its power from renewables by 2020, which is almost three percentage points above its 20 per cent target. Similarly, Germany expects to be 0.7 percentage points above its 18 per cent target, while Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden said they all expect to exceed their targets.
At the bottom of the league is Italy, which now foresees importing renewable energy from neighbouring non-EU countries such as Albania, Croatia, Serbia and Tunisia in order to meet its target.
Christine Lins, secretary general of the European Renewable Energy Council said: "The clear majority of European Member States recognise the economic, environmental and social benefits of promoting a broad range of renewable energy technologies nationally, as reflected in their forecast documents."
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