January 23 (Renewables Now) - The European Union (EU) increased the share of renewables in gross final energy consumption to 18% in 2018 from 17.5% calculated a year earlier, the latest Eurostat figures show.
Back in 2004, the year when the data first became available, the renewables share was 8.5%, while in 2020, the 28 EU member states are to collectively reach 20%. By 2030, the renewables share should rise to at least 32%.
According to the EU statistical office, 21 member states improved their figures in 2018. The renewables share remained unchanged in one country, Slovenia, and deteriorated in the remaining six EU states.
Sweden, Finland and Latvia continued to lead the ranking as the top three member states with the highest renewables share.
Sweden achieved 54.6% in 2018, just slightly up from 54.2% the year before, surpassing the national target of 49% it set for 2020.
Finland, which has maintained the renewables share above the 2020 target of 38% for three years, reached 41.2%. Third-ranked Latvia, with 40.3% in 2018, has joined countries that have reached a share equal to or above their national targets.
The bottom-ranked three are again the Netherlands, Malta and Luxembourg, with the renewables share of 7.4%, 8% and 9.1%, respectively, despite their improvements compared to the 2017 figures.
Hungary and Romania dropped from the 2018 list of EU states that succeeded in reaching or surpassing the national objectives. The remaining over-performers, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden, are now joined by new additions, Greece, Latvia and Cyprus.
Hungary and Romania still hover close to their national objectives for 2020, followed by Austria and Portugal.
By contrast, the Netherlands will have to increase its renewables share by 6.6 percentage points to make it to 14% in 2020. The same efforts are awaiting France and Ireland, which are behind their national targets by 6.4 and 4.9 percentage points, respectively.
Eurostat also keeps data on non-EU members Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Kosovo. Among them, only Montenegro surpassed the national target of 33% two years earlier by recording 38.8%.