Inside The European Union’s Aggressive 20-20-20 Renewable Energy Goals

Can Europe's fragmented renewable energy market get to 30% clean energy by 2020?
Apr 12, 2011 6:00 PM ET

Inside The European Union’s Aggressive 20-20-20 Renewable Energy Goals

With the lack of progress of a comprehensive federal renewable energy policy at the U.S. Capitol, it was heartening to hear about real progress being made in Europe during my recent trip to Brussels at the end of March. As a speaker at the RECS International Market Meeting, I had the opportunity to interact with companies, organizations, and government representatives who gathered together to discuss the state of European renewable energy policies and markets.

The European Union (E.U.) has adopted aggressive climate and energy goals—the “20-20-20” targets—which aim by 2020 to:

  • Reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions at least 20% below 1990 levels

  • Derive 20% of EU energy consumption from renewable resources

  • Create a 20% reduction in primary energy use compared with projected levels through improving energy efficiency

The second bullet, the renewable energy target, applies to all energy use including transportation and heating fuels, not just electricity. If targets are met, renewable electricity will supply over 30% of Europe’s electricity by 2020. Although more than half of U.S. states have adopted renewable portfolio standards, currently California is the only state that comes close to reaching this level of increased renewable electricity generation by 2020.

Read more on the European Union's Aggressive 20-20-20 Renewable Energy Goals here.