ENVIRONMENT: Renewable energy used for heating and cooling at 24.5% in Cyprus

In 2017, renewable energy accounted for 19.5% of the total energy used for heating and cooling in the European Union, it was higher in Cyprus at 24.5%.

This is a significant European increase from 10.4% in 2004 (14.5% for Cyprus in 2008). Increases in industrial sectors, services and households contributed to this growth. Aerothermal, geothermal and hydrothermal heat energy captured by heat pumps was also taken into account.

In four EU Member States, more than half of the total energy used for heating and cooling came from renewable energy sources in 2017: Sweden (69.1%), Finland (54.8%), Latvia (54.6%) and Estonia (51.6%). In contrast, the lowest shares were in the Netherlands (5.9%), Ireland (6.9%) and the United Kingdom (7.5%).

The EU seeks to have a 20% share of its gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020; this target is distributed between the EU Member States with national action plans designed to plot a pathway for the development of renewable energies in each of the Member States.

The share of renewables in gross final energy consumption stood at 17.5% in the EU-28 in 2017, compared with 8.5% in 2004.

This positive development has been prompted by the legally binding targets for increasing the share of energy from renewable sources enacted by Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

While the EU as a whole is on course to meet its 2020 targets, some Member States will need to make additional efforts to meet their obligations as regards the two main targets: the overall share of energy from renewable sources in the gross final energy consumption and the specific share of energy from renewable sources in transport.

With more than half (54.5%) of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption of energy, Sweden had by far the highest share among the EU Member States in 2017, ahead of Finland (41.0%), Latvia (39.0%), Denmark (35.8%) and Austria (32.6%).

At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportions of renewables were registered in Luxembourg (6.4%), the Netherlands (6.6%), Malta (both 7.2%), Belgium (9.1%), Cyprus (9.9%) and the UK (10.2%).

The targets for France, the Netherlands and Ireland require each of these Member States to increase their share of renewable energy in final energy consumption by at least 5.0 percentage points.

By contrast, eleven of the Member States had already surpassed their target for 2020; the extent to which the targets have been exceeded was particularly large in Croatia, Sweden, Denmark and Estonia.

Renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydro power, tidal power, geothermal energy, ambient heat captured by heat pumps, biofuels and the renewable part of waste.

The use of renewable energy has many potential benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the diversification of energy supplies and a reduced dependency on fossil fuel markets (in particular, oil and gas).

Source: The Financial Mirror