Renewable energies

Renewable energy companies support their own future by investing over 10 times more of their revenue in R&D than their fossil fuel competitors.
© Istockphoto / Pedro Castellano

... Clean alternatives to fossil fuels

Switching to renewable energies isn’t just the best choice. It’s one of the key challenges that Europe faces in the 21st century. Policy makers need to “walk the talk” up to 2030 on clean energy. Moving from fossil fuels to renewables will fight dangerous climate change, and it will reduce the EU’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels and boost much needed job creation in Europe’s economies.

It’s impossible to ignore the role of energy in our daily lives. We need it to power our homes, our hospitals, our schools, our shops, our transport, our PCs and everything that depends on them - to mention but a few. Reliable and affordable energy services are essential for our whole economy.

However, our use of fossil fuels - like oil, coal and gas – as a primary source of energy is not only environmentally unsustainable; it is also wasting European citizens’ money.

The good news is that renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, hydro-electric power, tidal power, geothermal energy and sustainable biomass, together with energy efficiency, are a viable alternative to fossil fuels. By switching to renewable energy, we can protect our natural environment, achieve energy independence, secure our energy needs and help avoid the dangerous consequences of global warming.

Up to 2030

In 2008, the European Union adopted the Renewable Energy Directive which requires that by 2020, 20% of the EU’s final energy consumption is generated from renewable sources. Since then all 28 Member States have been deploying renewable energy to reach their national efforts as well as the 2020 target.

Overall, renewable energy production in Europe is a success story, which must be continued beyond 2020.

In order to continue an amazing story of technology and market development, we now need to adapt the rules of the energy game. Up to 2030, Europe needs to commit to high and binding renewable energy objectives and move along with adapting the structure of the energy markets as well as the support schemes to renewable energy.

The European Commission has proposed a 2030 climate and energy package in a white paper with a binding share of 27% of renewable energy by 2030. This is not enough.

If the EU is serious about decarbonising our economy by 95% by 2050, renewables need a clear and ambitious signal from our policy leaders to secure investments in clean and safe technologies.


  • Imke Luebbeke

    Senior Policy Officer Renewable Energy

    WWF European Policy Office,

    +32 2 743 88 18


 Energy obtained from renewable sources is estimated to have accounted for 12.4 % of the EU’s overall energy consumption, but only to 2% at global level in 2010.

More than a third of electricity in the EU is anticipated to come from renewables by 2020.

Renewable energies and energy efficiency in YOUR neighbourhood

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Have you installed a solar energy system, a geothermal heatpump, or other renewable systems yourself? Or have you insulated your building to make it more energy efficient? Add your example to the map to make it visible and inspire others to take action as well. Each example is important!