The EU has committed to transition towards a clean, smart and renewable energy system, a task that creates both challenges and opportunities. To explore these issues for the wider public, the European Environmental Agency has published a collection of articles titled, ‘Signals 2017 – Shaping the Future of Energy in Europe: Clean Smart and Renewable.’
According to a release by the European Environmental Agency, “We still rely on the burning of fossil fuels to obtain most of the energy we use and the combustion of fossil fuels affects us all in one way or another. It releases air pollutants into the atmosphere and harms our health. It also releases greenhouse gases and contributes to climate change. We are at a critical decision point in time – the negative impacts of our current energy choices on the one hand, and the opportunities that clean energy sources offer on the other.”
European countries consume less energy compared with 10 years ago and rely less on fossil fuels due to energy savings and the faster-than-expected uptake of renewable energy.
Examining the state of play of Europe’s energy transition, Signals 2017 provides snapshots on key issues of energy, environment, technology, and sustainability. The introduction outlines the process of moving from an energy system that relied mostly on fossil fuels and nuclear power towards a more sustainable and more efficient system of renewable energy to achieve commitments made under the Paris Agreement on climate change. It describes the main challenges of harvesting, storing, and transporting renewable energy and conserving energy through increased energy efficiency.
The second part of the publication provides detailed data on energy production and consumption in all members of the EU. Other articles discuss: implications of climate change mitigation and adaptation for energy systems; sustainable production of biofuels; economic opportunities of a clean energy transition; energy efficiency; electric transportation; and the EU’s contribution to change in global energy markets and international decision making.
Signals 2017 is an annual European Environmental Agency publication exploring key environmental issues of importance to general debate and interest of the wider public. [Signals 2017 – Shaping the Future of Energy In Europe: Clean Smart and Renewable]