This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 13, 2008

Europe Falling Short of Renewable Energy Goals for 2010

Renewable energy seems to growing at break-neck pace throughout the world, and particularly in Europe, but a new report shows the European Union (EU) falling far short of its goal to use renewable energy for 12% of its energy needs by the end of 2010. As of the end of 2006, the EU is at 6.92% renewable energy, having posted an impressive 0.46% gain relative to 2005, but similar gains in the coming years would only get the EU to about 9% renewable energy. The report estimates that at best, the EU could reach 10% renewable energy by 2010. Meanwhile, the EU has set an additional goal of achieving 20% renewable energy by 2020.

One reason for the shortfall is that the growth in renewable energy is struggling to compete with a growth in energy demand: while EU renewable energy use grew by the energy equivalent of 8.5 million metric tons of oil (Mtoe), EU energy consumption grew by 5.5 Mtoe. That represents a very respectable 7.5% growth in renewable energy in one year, countered by a 0.3% growth in total energy use. That led Jean-Louis Bal, EU's director of Renewable Energies and Energy Networks and Markets, to declare that "the efforts being made for (renewable energy) development ... are not accompanied by any real effort to conserve energy."

The renewable energy growth is also very uneven across the EU, with Germany providing 43% of the growth in 2006. The EU is also struggling with below-normal hydropower production because of drought. All of which suggests that the United States has plenty in common with its European cousins. See pages 71-76 (PDF pages 73-78) of the report, which is published in both English and French (PDF 866 KB). Download Adobe Reader.