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EU Clean Energy progressing towards the Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Devopmente Goals

The EU made significant progress over the last 5 years towards the overall achievement of Sustainable Development Goal ‘Affordable and clean energy’ (SDG 7), which was adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, as EUROSTAT has informed in it last report: “Sustainable development in the European Union – 2017 monitoring report of the progress towards the SDGs in an EU context”.

EU progress is to SDG visible in almost all areas related 7 ‘affordable and clean energy’. The EU reduced its energy consumption of both primary energy and final energy, and improved its energy productivity while increasing the share of renewable energies. European citizens reduced their energy consumption at home, and fewer people were unable to keep their home adequately warm.

The report shows how EU is on track to meeting its 2020 energy efficiency target. Growth in primary and final energy consumption between 2000 and 2006 was later offset by rapid declines up to 2015, in particular for primary energy consumption. In absolute terms this means that by 2020, EU energy consumption should not exceed 1.483 million tonnes of oil equivalents (Mtoe) of primary energy or 1.086 Mtoe of final energy. Increasing energy efficiency means less energy is needed for producing the same economic output. Primary energy consumption measures a country’s total energy demand and final energy consumption only covers the energy consumed by end users, such as households, industry, agriculture and transport. It excludes the energy used by the energy sector itself.

In 2015, the EU was on track to meeting its primary and the final energy consumption target. This was mainly due to energy productivity improvements as a result of Member States implementing energy efficiency policies and slower economic growth as a consequence of the economic crisis.Final energy consumption in households per capita, by country, 2000 and 2015

Besides, in 2015, on average EU citizens consumed less energy at home than in 2000. The decline did not follow a steady downward trajectory though; in 2010 final energy consumption peaked to levels above those in 2000, followed by a steep decline until 2015.

Renewable energy generation is given as a share of renewable energy consumption to the gross final energy consumption according to the Renewable Energy Directive. The gross final energy consumption is the energy used by end consumers (final energy consumption) plus grid losses and self-consumption of power plants. The use of renewable energy has been increasing continuously in the EU, with its share almost doubling since 2004 when renewables covered only 8.5% of gross final energy consumption. Support schemes and obligations for renewable energies and falling renewable energy system costs were the two main drivers of this increase.

Affordable and clean energy

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations in September 2015, have given a new impetus to global efforts for achieving sustainable development. The EU is committed to playing an active role to maximise progress towards the SDGs, as outlined in its Communication ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future’.

Besides de SDG 7, there are other goals adopted by the United Nations related with energy. Concerning SDG 12 ‘responsible consumption and production’, the EU has achieved considerable gains in resource and energy productivity and is on track to meet its targets for primary and final energy consumption, as well as for the share of renewable energy. Progress was less significant but still visible with regard to waste generation and treatment, consumption of toxic chemicals, volume of freight transport relative to GDP, and CO2 emissions from new passenger cars.

For SDG 13 ‘climate action’, data coverage is sufficient for the topic ‘climate mitigation’, while trends of indicators on ‘climate impacts’ and ‘climate initiatives’ cannot be calculated due to insufficient availability of data. Indicators in the sub-theme ‘climate mitigation’ predominantly show progress, with the EU being well on track to reach its targets for greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energies and energy consumption.

The monitoring report of EUROSTAT describes progress made using a set of 100 indicators that are structured along the 17 SDGs. Two periods are considered: the short term, accounting for progress over the past five years, and the long term (when allowed by data availability), looking at the trends over the last 15 years. To provide a snapshot of overall development for each SDG, a synopsis presents a summary at goal level, while thematic chapters, one for each of the 17 SDGs, provide a detailed assessment of each related indicator.

NG_The global perspective on SDG 7

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