What is Europe 2020?
The European Union wants to drop its greenhouse gas emissions and have at least one-fifth of its energy come from renewable sources. It has set goals specifically in the transport sector, an area which consumes the most energy on the continent. Some countries have done better than others in achieving their targets, meeting or exceeding the goals set by the EU.
The best performing countries
Sweden was able to surpass its renewable energy targets, making it the most successful European country. Overall, an impressive half of its total energy comes from renewable sources. It was able to achieve a use of 30 percent of renewable energy for transport fuel. The reason Sweden has been so successful is the combination of its use of technology and its natural assets. Ever since the 1970s, it has invested in alternative energy sources. The country consumes a lot of energy, yet its carbon emissions are extremely low. Most electricity comes from nuclear and hydroelectric power.
Finland also achieved its targets, for the second highest share of renewables in Europe. Almost half of their electricity comes from renewable energy sources. Finland focuses heavily on hydropower. It’s expected that the share of wind power will double in the next 10 years. Wood is also a major source of energy and has traditionally been the second source behind hydro.
Austria came after Sweden in the rankings for transport, with 10 percent of renewable fuel energy being used in the sector. Eurostat has reported that overall the country’s share of renewable energy was over 30 percent. This means they have exceeded the 20 percent goal set by the EU. The largest state in Austria actually produces a whopping 100 percent of electricity from renewable energy already. This achievement is partly possible because of the River Danube. Its massive size is a natural bonus in the production of hydropower.
Latvia is a small country but has made large strides in improving its use of hydro and wind power. Natural gas use in the country is on the decline, while the proportional use of renewables continues to increase. Its share of renewables in transport still lags behind. However, it has the third highest share of renewables overall in the European Union at 37 percent.
Denmark has set a goal to eliminate its use of fossil fuels completely by 2050. The country’s main method to achieve this will be wind power. In regard to the Europe 2020 strategy, the goal is to use renewable energy for 50 percent of their electricity. Denmark seems to be on track, as the latest statistics showed almost 40 percent of the electricity came from wind power.
The overall aim of the Europe 2020 policy is to reduce pollution and fight climate change. It is also hoped that Europe will reduce its need for fossil fuels from other countries. This policy also benefits consumers, as energy should be more affordable for both private individuals and for companies.