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Luxembourg must quadruple the proportion of renewable energy it uses if it is to achieve its 2020 target.
Renewable energy accounted for just 2.8 percent of all energy consumed in the Grand Duchy from 2008 to 2010. While it is a good start, residents can expect to see some dramatic changes in the next eight years if the country is to achieve its 11 percent target by 2020.
Biofuels to supply the lion's share
According to the government's Renewable Energy Action Plan, published in 2010, domestic renewable energy from photovoltaics, wind turbines, and thermal energy sources will need to provide 4 percent of the country's energy requirements, investments in energy projects abroad will provide 2 percent and electric cars and biofuels will provide the largest chunk at 5 percent.
Though supported by the European Union, this latter step is viewed critically by environmental NGOs. They suggest that biofuels, created by mixing conventional diesel or petrol with a biological alternative to reduce CO2 emissions, should not qualify as renewable energy.
Greenpeace Luxembourg energy specialist Martina Holbach told wort.lu/en: “The NGO community in Luxembourg is really concerned about how Luxembourg intends to fulfil its objectives.
"Neither environmental NGOs nor development NGOs consider biofuels as a sustainable energy alternative because it's not only threatening the climate but it has nothing to do with climate protection. On the contrary, it's causing massive biodiversity loss and is a major cause of the rise of food prices around the world.”
Calls for national strategy
Ms Holbach called for better awareness-raising to encourage residents to invest in sustainable energy sources in the home. Meanwhile, she suggested that the state lead by example and develop a national strategy.
While Luxembourg is still some way off achieving its 11 percent long-term renewable energy goal, it appears to be on target for the short-term. According to the government action plan, 2.9 percent was the 2011-2012 goal, growing to 3.93 percent in 2013-2014.
Within the EU
Other European Union states face a tougher challenge, with Ireland and the Netherlands needing to find 11 percent more renewable energy within eight years, compared with their 2010 figures.
In 2010, the countries which appeared to be closest to hitting their targets were Romania, with just under one percent more to find to achieve 24 percent, and Estonia, which was 0.7 percent off its 25 percent goal.