Estonia is on track to become the first nation to meet the EU’s target of providing 20% of its final energy use from renewable sources, according to new Eurostat figures released on 26 April.
Across the continent, energies such as wind, solar and biomass contributed 13% of Europe’s total energy consumption in 2011, up 0.9% on the previous year. The highest shares of renewables were found in Sweden, Latvia, Finland and Austria but the EU has set countries different individual goals according to their circumstances, and only Estonia exceeded theirs.
“It is always nice to be among the leaders,” said the Estonian Liberal MEP Kristiina Ojuland, speaking from her constituency in Eesti Reformierakond. “But I think that we were able to achieve this because of a very clear governmental policy and commitment to investments in the sector.”
“Also the Estonian people are mentally very open to renewable energy,” she added. “Being a small country it is easier to get something done when there is a political will.”
Since 2011, Estonia’s share of renewable energy has risen by two percentage points and currently stands at 14.9% of total consumption, according to the Tallinn-based grid operator Elering AS. This was largely down to increased biomass production, which has been criticized for its potential to increase carbon emissions. But wind output also rose by 23% due to three new wind parks.