European Renewable Energy Share Increases To 14.4% In 2012

The Directive 2009/28 states that the Member States should achieve an overall 20% share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption across Europe. It has set a binding individual target for each country by 2020. EurObserv’ER is monitoring the progress of each Member State towards achieving these targets. The following estimates are the first to be published for 2012.

The results presented are estimations made by the EurObserv’ER consortium, based on the information gathered over the past year. The preliminary estimates put the renewable energy share of gross final energy consumption in the European Union at 14.4% in 2012 compared to 13.1% in 2011 , which is a 1.3 percentage point increase(using rounded figures).

Share of renewable energy sources in gross final energy consumption of 2011 and 2012, indicative trajectory and national overall targets for 2020.

image thumb European Renewable Energy Share Increases To 14.4% In 2012

There are a number of reasons for the sharp rise in the renewable energy share. 
• The first two are administrative and stem from the incorporation of sustainability criteria in our biofuel consumption calculations for the first time. According to the Renewable Energy Directive, these criteria must be met if the consumption is to be
eligible for inclusion. As it happens, a number of EU countries did not apply these sustainability criteria or only partly certified their consumption in 2011. The certified proportion of biofuel was much higher in 2012, which mechanically increased the renewable share. The other administrative-type factor is that Member States may now include part of their heat output from reversible air-to-air heat pumps, even though these heat pumps are mainly used for cooling purposes. This has had the effect of significantly increasing the output figures of a number of countries, Italy being a prime case in point.
• The third explanatory factor is weather-related, for in 2011, an exceptionally mild winter resulted in lower wood consumption for heating right across the EU. Wood is the main form of renewable energy used in Europe. In 2012, the return to normal weather conditions prompted a catch-up phenomenon which considerably increased wood consumption.
• In fourth place can be ventured the more conventional increase in the electricity and heat production capacities of wind energy, solar photovoltaic and also biogas and solid biomass, the latter primarily through the development of biomass co-firing and cogeneration. This growth essentially comes from the capacities commissioned in these technologies in 2011 that reached their full potential in 2012. However the increase in hydropower output across the European Union in 2012 had little impact on the final results, as hydropower output has standardized over the past fifteen years

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