France among members putting EU 2020 renewables target at risk

Solar panels used to produce renewable energy on the roof of a carpark in Bordeaux, south-western France, on Feb 29, 2016. A recent report said France is lagging in its bid to source 23 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Solar panels used to produce renewable energy on the roof of a carpark in Bordeaux, south-western France, on Feb 29, 2016. A recent report said France is lagging in its bid to source 23 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - France is one of six EU nations unlikely to hit their 2020 renewable energy targets, putting the European Union's 20 per cent goal at risk, the bloc's auditors said on Thursday (June 6).

France is lagging in its bid to source 23 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, the European Court of Auditors said in a report.

France sourced 16.3 per cent of its energy from renewables in 2017 and since 2005 has only raised this by 0.5 percentage point per year, the report said.

Renewables can regularly cover 25 per cent of France's summer electricity needs, grid operator RTE said on Wednesday.

While 11 EU countries have already met their targets, the Netherlands, Ireland, Britain, Luxembourg and Poland are also unlikely to reach their individual targets by 2020, the auditors said.

Each would need to boost their reliance on renewables by more than 4 percentage points from 2017 levels, the report said.

An additional eight EU members, including Germany and Spain, also need to accelerate their switch to renewables to meet their goals, it said.

 
 
 
 
 

If member states do not meet their national targets, an EU target of sourcing 32 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030 could be put into jeopardy, the auditors said.

Ten EU members have already reached their 2020 targets, including Sweden, whose 54.5 per cent rate was the highest in the EU.

Luxembourg at 6.4 per cent and the Netherlands at 6.6 per cent were the lowest.

Between 2005 and 2017, the share of renewable energy used in the EU almost doubled to 17.5 per cent, just a few points short of the bloc's 20 per cent goal for electricity, heating, cooling and transport use.

However, progress has slowed since 2014 when a number of EU countries reduced support for renewables to lighten the burden on consumers and national budgets.

"The slowdown in shifting towards renewable electricity implies that we might not meet the EU 2020 target," the auditors said in a statement.

The EU needs more wind and solar power to meet its renewables targets, the auditors said.

The European Commission should urge EU member states to take action, such as through auction planning and investment in grid infrastructure, they said.