Europe’s energy transition could be in worse shape indeed. While it is not certain whether the EU will meet its 2020 energy targets, it seems that there is still room for hope. Latest available data show that several countries are well on track when considering the share of renewables in their national energy consumption. According to Eurostat (10 March 2014), the share of renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy grew in all Member States.
With 2004 as baseline, the largest increases were recorded in Sweden (from 38.7% in 2004 to 51.0% in 2012), Denmark (from 14.5% to 26.0%), Austria (from 22.7% to 32.1%), Greece (from 7.2% to 15.1%) and Italy (from 5.7% to 13.5%). Overall the share of renewables in the total of energy consumption in EU28 was 14% in 2012, compared with 8.3% in 2004.
When it comes to energy efficiency, private and public investments are spreading as industries and local governments increasingly see opportunities to decrease costs. Environment is no longer the main driving force for energy saving measures (as it used to be before the financial crisis) but sincerely, who cares when, in addition to reducing carbon emissions, profitability is boosted and new job opportunities appear.
A new policy framework for climate and energy has recently been proposed by the European Commission. It includes a target to reduce EU domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below the 1990 level by 2030. The share of renewable energy has been set at 27% at least of the EU's energy consumption by 2030.
Many see the Commission's proposals for 2030 as weak. Activists and policy analysts were hoping the EC would come up with binding measures that would ensure, not only compliance with the objectives, but also sanctions against failing Member States.
My opinion here is that Europe’s transition towards a low carbon, green economy, fully driven by sustainable energy, can only be achieved through individual and social behavioural change, not by binding laws which ultimately confront opposite perceptions and are often counterproductive. Awareness needs to be embraced by all economic, social and political actors for Europe to reach a fully sustainable future.
The Sustainable Energy Europe & ManagEnergy Awards identify over 300 energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transport projects annually. Proposed by small, local communities, to private, global corporations, the projects come in every shape and size but all have one thing in common: They bring Europe closer to its energy targets.
The objective of this European Commission awards competition is to give recognition and promote best-in-class projects, to increase their visibility and to ultimately enable their replication and up-scaling in other economic sectors and geographical areas. Winners receive a free video featuring their project. In the presence of Commissioner Oettinger, runners up and winners are invited to Brussels to present their project in a special networking event to take place during the upcoming EU Sustainable Energy Week (23-27 June 2014).
Final deadline to participate in this ongoing edition is 28 March 2014. So if you are one of those who are driving change without waiting to be legally bound to, submit your sustainable energy project and get the recognition and visibility you deserve! To apply visit: www.eusew.eu/awards-competition. Please share with your networks and let's make Europe's green future a reality!
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Disaster risk, Earthquakes, Floods/storms, Pollution, Sustainable energy: Fossil fuel, Fracking, Nuclear, Solar, Wind, Other