The rapid deployment of renewable energy technology in the European Union has significantly reduced carbon emissions and propelled the continent close to its goal of producing 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The EEA reported that renewables now generate 16.7 percent of Europe’s electricity and account for 77 percent of the continent’s new power capacity. This renewable energy surge was led by nations such as Finland, Latvia, and Sweden, where wind, solar, and hydropower produced more than 30 percent of electricity. Other nations, such as Malta, lagged behind, with renewables accounting for only 5 percent of electricity generation.
Despite the rapid growth of wind and solar power, the EEA report said that Europe is still not deploying renewables quickly enough to help hold increases in global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels. To help attain that goal, EU nations will have to rapidly accelerate the decarbonization of their economies after 2030, including in the transportation sector, the EEA said.