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Italy Exceeds Its 2020 Renewables Target

17 Mar 14:00 by Steve Walia

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New figures published by the EU's official statistics office, Eurostat, show that more than 17pc of power in Italy is now being generated by renewable sources. This figure hit 17.5pc by the end of 2015, which meant that the country had exceeded its trajectory for hitting the 2020 milestone five years early.

The achievement is particularly impressive given the pace of renewables growth in Italy. In 2004, just 6.3pc of the country's energy was produced from renewable means.

There are now eleven EU member states which had met their target. The others are Sweden, Bulgaria, Finland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Denmark, Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania.

The country which still has the furthest to go to reach its target is The Netherlands. It is followed by the UK, France, Luxembourg and Ireland. This is despite Britain and Luxembourg both having lower targets.

EU member states were given different targets according to factors such as their natural resources and population sizes. Italy sat in the middle of the group when measured against these factors, in 13th place out of 28 member states.

Now every Italian town uses at least one source of green power, and the country has become a particular leader in solar energy.

However, the drive towards a lower-carbon economy has not been without its problems. Sicily and Sardinia had both been identified as excellent areas to benefit from solar power thanks to their warm climates, but the potential economic gains have been largely cancelled out by Mafia activity in the sector and creaming away the profits generated by incumbent green energy firms.

Meanwhile, the UK remains uncertain as to its green energy future, as the May government focuses largely on Brexit as a priority for the UK's economic path to prosperity.