Austria to source 71% of its electricity from renewables by 2020

The small, mountainous nation will source an impressive 71% of its electricity from renewables. Next in line will be Sweden – set to source 63% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, followed by Latvia – 60%, Portugal – 55% and Denmark – 54%. At the other end of the scale, Poland, Estonia, Cyprus, Malta, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Hungary are all set to cover less than 20% of their electricity needs with renewable electricity.

The overall figure for the EU is 34% by 2020 – which puts us on track to meet the agreement struck in 2008 to cover 20% of our energy needs with renewable sources, meaning 34% for the electricity sector.

Wind power to lead green transformation

Looking at the breakdown of renewable energy technologies reveals that wind farm power will lead this progressive transformation to green electricity – in 2020 14% of the EU’s electricity will be wind turbines powered, followed by hydro (10.5%), biomass (6.7%), solar energy photovoltaic (2.4%), Concentrated solar power (0.5%), geothermal energy (0.3%) and tidal/wave/ocean energy (0.2%).

By 2020 the most wind energy powered nations in the EU are expected to be Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, the UK and Spain – a change from the picture over recent decades which has seen Denmark, Germany and Spain at the top of the wind power league.

From now until 2020 another big shift is likely to occur – the offshore wind energy sector will increase in relation to its onshore sister. Today 5.8% of the EU’s electricity is met by wind power with onshore wind farm accounting for 5.4% and offshore just 0.4%. By 2020, onshore wind turbines will meet 10% of the EU’s electricity needs, while offshore wind farm will meet 4%.

Zoë Casey,