The share of renewables in the EU’s energy mix increased from 9.6% to 22.1% between 2004 and 2020, according to the bloc’s statistical office, Eurostat. The decrease in fossil fuel consumption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic helped the EU surpass its 2009 target of 20% renewables by 2020.

A solar farm in Andalucia, Spain. (Photo by Denis Zhitnik via Shutterstock)

Sweden had by far the highest share of renewables (60%) among the EU member states in 2020, ahead of Finland (44%) and Latvia (42%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportions of renewables were registered in Malta (11%), followed by Luxembourg (12%) and Belgium (13%).

A total of 26 countries met or exceeded their EU-agreed national renewables targets for 2020. The countries that did best were Sweden, Croatia (both +11%) and Bulgaria (+7%). Conversely, France missed its target (-3.9%), the Netherlands had to rely on a statistical transfer from Denmark for its last 3%, and Poland revised its data on the final energy consumption of solid biomass, increasing its share of renewables by 3% and consequently also achieving its target.

EU lawmakers are currently rushing to get the European Commission’s 'Fit for 55' climate and energy package ready for its first votes before the end of the French EU presidency in July. Demand for fossil fuels has picked up, threatening a temporary win on climate in 2020.