The share of renewable energy among EU member states rose to 14.4% in 2012, compared to 13.1% in 2011, according to the European renewable energy barometer EurObserv’ER.
EU countries have a 20% target for the share of clean energy by 2020. The latest figures say that in 2012, the 27 member states increased their renewables consumption by 1.3 percentage points.
Sweden and Finland registered the most consistent increases. Sweden’s renewable share rose from 49.4% in 2011 to 52.4% in 2012, while Finland’s went up from 32.9% to 36.4% in the same period.
The UK experienced a modest increase, from 3.8% in 2011 to 4.1% in 2012. The UK has a set target of 20% renewables share by 2020, which the industry says it is unlikely to reach. Meanwhile, Sweden has already overcome its 49% target.
EurObserv’ER said much of the overall increase coincided with the inclusion of sustainability criteria in the biofuel consumption calculations for the first time, as well as a greater use of wood in 2012, which is one of Europe’s most common sources of renewable energy.
Biofuels have been object of dispute between the industry and green groups, which say this form of renewable energy is unsustainable. In September, the European parliament voted to impose a cap on biofuels, saying their production should not exceed the 6% of the total energy consumption in transport by 2020.
At the same time, member states increased the production of energy from wind, sun, biomass and biogas. However, the overall consumption of final energy – both traditional and renewable – has decreased because of recession.
A survey conducted in December revealed that renewable energy was the second most popular investment choice in the UK after property.