Climate change and the need to manage diminishing fossil fuel reserves are, today, two of the biggest challenges facing the planet.
In order to secure a future for generations to come, we need to reduce energy consumption and substantially cut down on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
Renewable energy technologies are clean sources of energy that will not run out. Ever. They also have a much lower environmental impact than fossil fuels..
Here is a look at 10 European countries where renewable energy is becoming an increasingly important part of the country’s energy mix.
10. Romania – 24.8%
Almost a quarter of Romania’s total energy consumption comes from renewable energy sources. The country surpassed its national target of 24 per cent and easily exceeded the European target of 20 per cent.
9. Lithuania – 25.8%
An important pillar of Lithuania’s energy policy, renewable energy accounted for 25 per cent of the country’s gross energy consumption. At the start of this year, Lithuania was home to more than 2,500 power plants from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro.
Portugal has become one of Europe’s leaders in terms of renewable energy sources – specifically with wind and micro-generation.
7. Estonia – 28.6%
Oil shale and renewable fuels meet a large part of Estonia’s energy needs. Renewable energy plants are becoming more available in the country, with 28 per cent of energy consumption coming from renewable energy resources.
6. Croatia – 29%
Hydropower forms a huge part of Croatia’s installed renewable capacity with wind and solar power following behind.
5. Denmark – 30.8%
Denmark relies heavily on wind power – with more than 31, 000 people working in the industry in 2015.
4. Austria – 33%
Austria is home to more than 2.4 gigawatts of installed wind capacity and 900 megawatts of installed solar capacity. However, hydropower is the largest supplier to the country’s renewable energy, contributing more than 13 gigawatts of installed hydropower capacity.
3. Latvia – 37.6%
Hydropower and gas provide the majority of domestic electricity supply for Latvia, with wind and biomass also contributing to the energy mix. In 2014, hydroelectricity produced 39 per cent of the country’s total electricity generation.
2. Finland – 39.3%
Bioenergy, hydropower, wind power and ground heat are among the largest renewable energy sources in Finland.
1. Sweden – 53.9%
By quite some way, Sweden is the leading European country in terms of renewable energy, with over half of its energy supplies coming from renewable energy sources.
In 1970, 75 per cent of its energy supplies consisted of oil – this figure has now fallen to roughly 20 per cent today.