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EU Renewable Energy Target 2010: 12%

Updated: June 2008

This page covers the EU development regarding renewable energy targets from 1995 to 2004.

Following the publication of the communication "The Share of Renewable Energy in the EU" in 2004, further steps have been made with the adoption of a 20% renewables targets by Ministers in 2007 and the publication of the Climate and Energy Package in 2008. Read about the Package including the 20 % RE target by 2020, or separately about the RE Target of 20 % by 2020.

Index of this Page:
· Will the 12% Target Be Met by 2010? Read
· Countries Agreed Further Actions, November 2004 Read
· Targets for Electricity & Transport 2001 & 2003 Read
· White Paper for Renewable Energy: Targets for Electricity and Transport 1997 (COM(97)599final) Read


Will the 12% Target Be Met by 2010?
The development of windpower and solar PV has been above the expectations of the 1997-White Paper for Renewable Energy (see below), while the development of biomass has been less than expected. A communication from the Commission, "The Share of Renewable Energy in the EU" (COM 2004-366), May 2004, stated that with the current measures and policies in place the 15 "old" EU countries will only reach 9% renewable energy by 2010, up from 6% on 2000. In 2005, the renewables share in final energy consumption for the EU was about 8.5%.


Countries Agreed Further Actions 2004
Nov. 29, 2004 the EU Energy Ministers met and discussed the communication from the Commission. They agreed a number of additional activities to increase the use of renewable energy, including:

  • Heating and cooling with renewable energy need further attention. As a first step, the EU Commission was invited to assess the potential and the barriers. With this conclusion, the countries delayed progress in this important area, but they also started a process which is hopefully leading to the necessary action.
  • The proposed biomass action plan was welcomed, and should include a number of important aspects for increase of biomass use in a sustainable way. The action plan was finally published in December 2005.
  • A conference should be organised for renewable-energy policy-makers in the EU.
  • Cooperation on distribution of large amounts of renewable energy through the electric grid should be increased, in particular to integrate windpower, including electricity from off-shore wind parks.
  • Renewable energy should be given adequate priority in EU funding. Unfortunately, the countries did not specify the type of funding or any desired increase, e.g., in structural funds for renewable energy.
  • The EU countries should continue to use their influence to strengthen renewable-energy deployment policies in relevant international bodies.

The countries did not agree a revision of the 12% target, but they did not confirm it either.


Targets for Electricity & Transport 2001 & 2003
With the directives for renewable energy in electricity (2001) and biofuels/renewable energy in transport (2003), specific targets have been established of respectively 22% renewable electricity and 5.75% renewable transport energy by 2010. The electricity target is consisting of non-binding (indicative) targets for the 15 "old" EU countries; but the Commission has some possibility to introduce mandatory targets if the EU-wide target is not met. The biofuels target is a "reference value" for national target that should be established in 2004. No specific target is set for renewable energy for heating that constitutes the largest part of the overall target according to the White Paper.


White Paper for Renewable Energy: Targets for Electricity and Transport 1997 (COM(97)599final)
Just before the Climate Convention Conference in Kyoto in December 1997, where the Kyoto Protocol was agreed, the EU Commission presented a White Paper on Renewable Energy. The paper made proposals for increased use of renewable energy and an aim of doubling the use of renewable energy from 5.2% in 1995 to 12% in 2010. In the analysis behind the paper was proposed increases of all types of renewable energy. The sources were expected to be:

  • solid biomass for cogeneration of heat and electricity, increase of 32 Mtoe
  • solid biomass for heating, increase of 25 Mtoe
  • liquid biomass, mainly for transport, increase of 18 Mtoe
  • biogas & landfill gas, 15 Mtoe
  • windpower, 40,000 MW, increase of 6.5 Mtoe
  • hydropower, increase of 4.15 Mtoe
  • solar heating, increase of 3,74 Mtoe
  • geothermal for heat and for cogeneration, increase of 2.7 Mtoe
  • Solar PV, increase of 0.26 Mtoe
  • Passive solar, increase of 10-25 Mtoe
With passive solar increase of 10Mtoe, and increase of energy consumption of 16% this will increase renewable energy use to 12.0 % using the Eurostat Convention (with the "substitution principle" it will give 15%). The biomass sectors, together 90 Mtoe increase, are expected to be the most important. Almost half of the biomass is expected to come from energy crops (27 Mtoe as solids and 18 Mtoe as liquid biofuels though some biofuels could also come from residues). If the solid biomass comes from energy forests it would cover 6.3 mill ha (4.5% of the 141 mill. ha of total agricultural area), but with special high yielding crops it can be smaller.

In 1995 the EU countries welcomed the White Paper and agreed to use the target as an indicative target or guideline for development. The target was later included in EU's climate policy as one of the major building blocks elements to reach 8% reductions in greenhouse gases.

Read the White Paper

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