EU to exceed green energy target

March 12, 2010 at 1:11 PM
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BRUSSELS, March 12 (UPI) -- The European Union will exceed its target of getting 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2020, the European Commission said.

Latest national forecasts suggest that the EU by the end of this decade will reach an overall share of 20.3 percent renewables, Brussels said.

Ten of the 27 member states are likely to exceed national targets, with another 12 set to meet their goals domestically.

The overachievers, which would be able to sell excess renewable energy shares, are led by Germany and Spain, which exceed their domestic renewable targets by 2.7 and 0.7 percentage points, respectively.

"These forecasts show that member states take renewable energy very seriously and are really dedicated to push their domestic production," Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement. "It will help us to cut CO2 emissions and, at the same time, enhance our energy security."

"It is also a very positive message for our economy and our companies," he added. "It is an incentive to invest in green technology and the production of renewable energy. Our task will be to help all member states not only to reach the 20 percent target but to go beyond."

Only five EU members -- Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg and Malta -- aren't expected to meet their targets and might have to import green power.

It should be noted, however, that the EU has imposed different targets for each nation. While Germany has to reach an 18.7 percent share by 2020, Denmark will have to go to 30 percent.

The EU definition of renewables includes biofuels, biomass, wind, solar energy and hydropower. The renewable share in 2007 was 9 percent. Additional forecasts are to be published this fall.

While Europe is on track when it comes to boosting the share of renewables, it is still lagging behind regarding the implementation of a fully competitive cross-European energy market.

Brussels aims to improve competition by increasing transparency in the oil and gas sector, unbundling large utilities and accelerating investments in energy infrastructure. The latter is aimed at enhancing cross-border trade and ease the market entry of renewables.

The commission in its assessment of the progress gave a mixed picture, revealing this week that the correct implementation of electricity and gas legislation wasn't complete in all member states. Plummeting oil and gas prices on the wholesale markets didn't sufficiently drive down consumer prices, Brussels warned.

"A well-functioning internal energy market will provide the right investment signals and will bring clear benefits for electricity and gas consumers across the EU," Oettinger said in a statement. "What is at stake is our ability to reach the goals set in the Europe 2020 Strategy through a secure, competitive and sustainable supply of energy to our economy and our society."

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