EU edges towards renewable energy targets

BRUSSELS - The European Union is making steady progress towards its 2020 renewable energy target, a key effort in curbing the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, official data showed Monday.

Renewables - predominantly wind but including tidal and biomass sources as well - accounted for 14.1 per cent of the EU's energy consumption in 2012, up from 13 per cent in 2011, the Eurostat statistics bureau said.

The EU has set itself a 20-per cent target for renewable energy use by the year 2020, part of its overall "Europe 2020" strategy of sustainable economic growth.

Eurostat said of the 28 member states, Sweden continues to lead the field, with 51 per cent of its energy coming from renewables, up from almost 39 per cent 10 years ago when the EU average was 8.3 per cent.

Latvia on 35.8 per cent was the next best performer, followed by Finland on 34.3 per cent and Austria 32.1 per cent.

Among the lowest ranked were Malta at just 1.4 per cent, Luxembourg with 3.1 per cent, Britain with 4.2 per cent and the Netherlands with 4.5 per cent.