Renewable Energy in 2020

Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) emphasise the relevance of reducing dependency on fossil fuels and sets the target of using at least 20% of renewable energy sources for energy consumption, as a common goal achieved differently by each of its member states.

As Climate Change risks increase, the measures to mitigate its consequence have to accompany in size and anticipate in implementation. The Paris Agreement demands bolder commitments and corresponding actions from all interested parties in solving this Global challenge. Consequently, the EU has revised its GHG emissions reduction targets and in 2018 announced stronger commitment in decarbonising the economy. It has increased the EU energy consumption target to 32% of renewable energy sources by 2030. Is it going at the right pace?

By 2019, 19% of the energy consumption in the EU-28 from renewable energy sources had already been achieved, according to IEA. In 2017, the most recent year of available data Europe’s consumption averaged 17.5% whilst globally that value averaged 13.6%. Europe is clearly a leader in Renewable Energy consumption and is doing so at a good pace. As it is clearly illustrated in the graphic below, constructed with EIA’s data, regulation has been key to attain that change. However, it is not enough. More is needed, not only within the European continent but also overseas. It would be great if many other countries and regions would follow EU’s example.

Renewable Energy Consumption between 2005 and 2017 in the EU-28 and globally.

Regulation has also triggered new generation investments with corresponding commercial activity ramping up after the directive took effect. In 2010 renewable investments grew by 47%, entering then a steady phase of new investments to levels close to pre-renewable directive. Nevertheless, renewable generation has been prioritised in the energy mix to ensure cleaner sources. Generation has been slightly above consumption, as BP data suggests. This is not surprising given that electricity storage has been increasingly used in the past quinquennium.  For 2019, renewable generation was 20.9%, as illustrated in the graphic below. The graphic shows the renewable generation percentage in the whole energy generation mix by region and the increase is clear from 2007 onwards, with great pace after 2009. It is very likely therefore that the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) has been indeed a success. We should be thankful to the EU for having set leadership in this matter. But we all should do more, too, in order to generate and release less GHG emissions.

This graphic has been elaborated by the author with data from BP. It shows the renewable generation percentage in the whole energy generation mix by region.

As the year 2020 comes to an end, I’ve two main wishes. Firstly, that the vaccine reaches all countries and heard immunity is achieved by the beginning of Q2 2021 so we can resume our non-virtual lives. Secondly, that more sustainable behaviours are adopted by countries, businesses and society, in order to reduce GHG emissions and make another milestone in decoupling economic growth from GHG emissions intensity at world level.

2021 is 1 day away, what is your New Year resolution and how would you like next year to finish? If you haven’t thought about it, please see some of my suggestions for a Sustainable Year:

  1. Switch to Energy Suppliers that have been offering clean energy in their energy offer.
  2. Consume responsibly, meaning think twice if you’re going to use all or if you’re going to waste. You may be wasting finite resources.
  3. Use transports efficiently.
  4. Buy a natural plant for your home and/or office.
  5. Recycle, Reuse, Repair
  6. Influence those who are in your circle of influence to behave sustainable too.

Perhaps they may inspire you to take bold actions, too.

A safe, sustainable and successful 2021!

4 thoughts on “Renewable Energy in 2020

  1. The next day of publishing this article, Morocco has announced an extra 400 MW of renewable’s licenses, which applications need to be submitted by Jan 31st. Another good step from the Moroccan government to mitigate impact from a major project failure some years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s great to see the percentages of renewable energy rise. Living in the EU, I’m happy that the EU looks to be doing a relatively decent job. One thing to note is that EU countries are making increasing use of biomass. It’s a bit of a stretch to call this sustainable since a lot of it is coming from deforestation (sometimes in very far away countries) and then transported to the EU.

    Seems like all countries have a lot of work to do 😀


    1. When biomass is constituted purely from trees that could be living for longer and be a Natural Carbon Capture and Storage repository, GHG emissions once stored there are released to the atmosphere. That obviously should be forbidden. However, there are times when Biomass is not made out of trees that could have an extended life, but of urban or forest waste that needs to be recycled producing heat and ashes, which shouldn’t be harmful to the environment and could be used back to fertilise soils.


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