EU beats 2020 renewable energy goal, France lags behind - Eurostat

Power-generating windmill turbines are seen at an offshore wind farm in the Baltic Sea
Power-generating windmill turbines are seen at an offshore wind farm, Kriegers Flak, in the Baltic Sea between Denmark, Sweden and Germany, September 6, 2021. Ritzau Scanpix/Olafur Steinar Gestsson/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN DENMARK.

Jan 19 (Reuters) - The European Union tapped renewables for 22% of its energy consumption in 2020, beating its 20% target, the EU statistics office said on Wednesday.

The bloc's 27 countries are increasingly turning to wind, solar and other renewable energy sources as part of efforts to meet the EU-wide ambition of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. read more

Sweden has raced ahead of other EU nations, with over 60% of its energy consumption derived from renewable sources, surpassing Finland at 44% and Latvia at 42%.

Eurostat found that Malta, Luxembourg and Belgium had the lowest proportions of renewable energy consumption in 2020, at between 11% and 13%.

Sweden outperformed its own national renewables target of 49% by 11 percentage points alongside Croatia, which had aimed for a 20% share, while Bulgaria exceeded its own goal of 16% by 7 percentage points.

Fuelled by hydropower and bioenergy, Sweden has long topped international environmental rankings, cutting back on greenhouse gases while preserving its economic growth as it moves towards its 2045 net-zero target. read more

However, Norway and Iceland - which are not part of the EU - far exceeded any country within the bloc, with respective shares of renewable consumption of 77% and 84%, largely thanks to their extensive use of hydro-electricity.

France, which is expanding its nuclear reactor fleet, was the only country that fell short of its national goal for renewables of 23%, missing it by 3.9 percentage points.

The state was ordered by a French court late last year to prevent a further rise of carbon emissions by end-December 2022 at latest, ruling it must respect its commitments to reduce its greenhouse gases. read more

Reporting by Juliette Portala and Sarah Morland; editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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