On June 15th, 2012, ministers from 26 EU member nations backed a resolution calling for the European Commission (EC) to create an energy policy strategy framework to 2030, ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio di Janeiro June 20th-22nd, 2012.
Poland was the only nation to not support the proposal, which calls for a greater share or renewable energy in EU consumption to 2030. The EU’s statistics office has also released data finding that renewable energy use rose to 12.4% of total energy consumption in 2010.
"This brings us one step closer to having 2030 targets for renewable energy," stated Renewable Energy Association (REA, UK) Chief Executive Gaynor Hartnell. "If the Government’s Electricity Market Reform proposals are to work, investors must be confident that the momentum for renewables will remain continue beyond 2020."
"We have every confidence that of the three low carbon energy options, renewables will win out on cost and merit, but the existence of a target will reassure investors that the new market structure must be made to work for renewable energy."
In advance of the 2009 UN talks on climate change, the EU agreed to a position that emissions from developed nations should be reduced up to 95% by 2050. To achieve this target, the EU has created an Energy Roadmap 2050, and has set milestones including a 40% emissions reduction by 2030 and a 60% goal by 2040.
However, the Polish government has repeatedly resisted efforts to set more stringent carbon targets, in an effort to protect its coal industry.
Despite the Polish government’s recalcitrance, the Danish Presidency of the EU says the block will continue to work towards low-carbon plans. The U.K. Government has also noted that there will be further EC initiatives in 2012 on a climate and energy framework past 2020.
The 27 nations of the EU increased their renewable energy consumption every year from 9.0% in 2006 to 12.4% in 2010. The highest share of renewable energy consumption in 2010 was found in Sweden, at 48%, Latvia at 33% and Finland at 32%.
The EU also notes that between 2006 and 2010 all member states increased their share of renewable energy, with the largest increases in Estonia, Romania and Denmark.
Spain showed the fifth-highest increase from 9.0% to 14%, which includes dramatic increases in solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) capacities.