Last year, the European Commision set an overall target of 20% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. Yesterday, proposed legally binding targets for individual EU countries were announced. The most recent figures, for 2005, show that the EU used about 8.5% renewable energy – varying amoung countries from almost zero in Luxembourg to almost 40% in Sweden.

The process for arriving at individual countries’ targets puts a greater burden on those countries with a higher per capita gross domestic product. Britain has been set a target of 15% renewable by 2020 (up from 1.3% in 2005); Germany’s target is 18% (up from 5.8%). Germany has successfully supported renewable energy producers through a surchage on electricity consumption.

The European Commision has calculated that achieving the targets will cost the average citizen about €3 a week.

The targets could still change as the proposal passes though the legislative process. France, which has been set a target of 25%, relies heavily on nuclear fuel and objects to the the EU not counting this as "renewable" even though it is low-carbon.