How far along is Europe with the energy transition?

To achieve the Paris climate goals the EU wants the share of renewables in overall energy consumption to increase to at least 40 percent by 2030. The energy sector accounts for around three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions. Europe's press discusses how much progress the EU and its member states have made so far and how to accelerate the process.

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

Spain is on the right path

In Spain, more than half of the country's total electricity demand was covered by renewables in 2023, and that figure is set to rise to 81 percent by 2030. La Vanguardia calls for better use of green energy:

“There is the risk that the supply of renewable energy will exceed demand, since the process of electrification is progressing very slowly in Spain, mainly due to the low penetration of electric cars and heat pumps. ... Spain will close its last nuclear power plant in 2035 and compensate for the instability of renewable energy by maintaining natural gas as an energy source until the necessary technological advances in battery storage have been achieved. In this sense, the country will remain dependent on foreign energy. Nonetheless, the transition to the new energy model is unstoppable.”

Polityka (PL) /

Polish grid can't keep pace with technology

Polityka sees numerous technical barriers:

“Poland is moving away from coal faster and faster, but the expansion of renewable energies is coming up against an obstacle that it cannot overcome - the distribution grids. ... Most of them are now well over 30 years old. ... Old grids are less suitable for maintaining an adequate energy supply. ... It is also more difficult to connect new generation sources to an old grid. ... We have almost reached the limit when it comes to connecting new renewable energy sources to the grid. This is the result of investors' green fever on the one hand and the operators' lack of technical capacities on the other.”

Libération (FR) /

Bring big oil companies under EU control

To drive the transition forward, the EU should take over the six oil companies with the highest emissions, Green MEP David Cormand demands in Libération:

“Around 100 billion euros would have to be mobilised to acquire 51 percent of the shares in these companies. This is certainly a large amount, but it must be set against the sums invested in fossil fuels every year, the investment capacity of the European Investment Bank (around 70 billion euros per year) and the price of passivity on climate protection (190 billion euros per year, according to the Rousseau Institute). As useful as it is, the EU's Green Deal cannot be based solely on regulation. It must also be based on fair taxation and targeted strategic investments.”

Diena (LV) /

No viable alternative to nuclear power

Latvia is neglecting an important element for ensuring its successful energy transition, complains Ivars Zariņš, Managing Director of the Latvian Association of Electric Power Engineers and Power Builders, in Diena:

“What's lacking in Latvia is a clear vision and willingness to plan carefully for the long term. Those countries that have visions for long-term development are thinking about nuclear energy. ... The use of nuclear energy is becoming increasingly relevant in view of the global trends - the fight against climate change and rising energy consumption. Nuclear energy offers a convenient solution to these challenges. .. Whether we like it or not, we will eventually come to the point where we have to think about using nuclear energy.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Photovoltaic systems don't belong on farmland

The locations for solar power plants must be chosen with care, a collective of 28 farmers' associations and NGOs demands in La Libre Belgique:

“Private developers are attracted to agricultural land because the technology can be easily, quickly and inexpensively installed there. But if we want to act in the interests of the common good and common sense, it's clear that urbanised areas should be preferred for photovoltaic installations. In addition to the roofs of public and private buildings there are still thousands of hectares of industrial wasteland in Wallonia that are just waiting to be repurposed. These spaces are well suited for setting up photovoltaic systems without jeopardising our agriculture, food sovereignty and biodiversity.”