Renewable sources of generation are playing an increasingly large role in the EU’s energy mix.
That’s according to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which says higher consumption of green energy is reducing the need for carbon intensive fossil fuels and the resultant greenhouse gas emissions.
It shows the share of power from green sources increased from 15% in 2013 to 16% in 2014.
This upward trend continued in 2015, when renewable energy accounted for 77% of new capacity for the eighth year in a row.
The EU’s renewable energy use reached 16.7% in 2015 and the report says this places it on course to reach its target of 20% clean power by 2020.
Shares of renewable energy use continues to vary widely between different Member States, ranging from more than 30% in Finland, Latvia and Sweden to 5% or less in Luxembourg and Malta.
The report says the uptake of renewable energy since 2005 allowed the EU to cut fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by about a tenth in 2015 – this is roughly comparable to the use and output of Italy.
Global energy related carbon emissions were flat for the third consecutive year in 2016.
However, a new report suggests Europe’s biggest utilities could be locked into high emissions from fossil fuel power plants until 2050.