© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A power-generating windmill turbine is pictured during sunset at a renewable energy park in Ecoust-Saint-Mein, France, September 6, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
(Reuters) – Nearly two-fifths of electricity consumed in the European Union in 2020 came from renewable sources, the bloc’s statistics office said on Wednesday, though its progress remained dwarfed by that of its Nordic neighbours Iceland and Norway.
EU countries tapped renewables for 37% of their gross electricity consumption compared to 34% in 2019, Eurostat said, although rates varied greatly across the region.
Austria and Sweden led the bloc with renewables accounting for more than three-quarters of their electricity use, followed by an over 50% share in Denmark, Portugal, Croatia and Latvia.
Outside the EU, both Iceland and Norway produced more power from renewable sources than the total electricity they consumed.
Norway, also Western Europe’s biggest petroleum producer, generates most of its electricity from hydropower while Iceland also benefits from abundant geothermal energy thanks to its volcanic origins.
Landlocked Hungary lagged behind the rest of the continent alongside the southern island states of Malta and Cyprus, with renewables making up around 10% of their electricity use.
Eurostat said wind and hydropower dominated more than two-thirds of the 27-country bloc’s renewables sector in 2020, although its third-biggest contributor, solar, was the fastest-growing source.
Power generated from sunlight made up 14% of the EU’s electricity consumption in 2020, compared with just 1% in 2008.
Last week, Eurostat reported that EU member states had exceeded their 20% target for renewable energy consumption in 2020, taking into account use in transport and heat regulation as well as electricity.
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