By Susanna Twidale
LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union is collectively on track to achieve its goal of sourcing a fifth of its energy from renewables by 2020, although Britain, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are currently lagging behind, the European Commission said on Tuesday.
Renewable energy is expected to have accounted for 15.3 percent of total energy consumption in the EU last year, the Commission said, setting the bloc on course to reach its target in five years' time.
Its latest biennial progress report said 25 out of 28 nations were expected to have met their 2013/2014 interim national goals. Apart from the three laggards, it said France, Malta, Belgium and Spain may need to ratchet up efforts, even though they have hit their interim targets.
"Some member states, including France, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent Belgium and Spain need to assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective in meeting their renewable energy objectives," the report said.
Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Latvia are among countries which have already outpaced the 2020 target, with renewable energy making up more than one-third of consumption in 2013.
Higher use of renewables such as wind, biomass, hydro and solar led almost half member states to reduce their gas consumption by at least 7 percent in 2013 and avoided around 388 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the report showed.
Europe wants to reduced its dependence on imports of natural gas, especially from Russia, to help increase its security of energy supply. The EU also has a target to cut CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.
In the transport sector, 5.7 percent of energy is expected to have come from renewable sources in 2014.
The Commission said meeting a 10 percent target for the transport sector “is challenging but remains feasible.”
(Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)