Renewable electricity consumption (CSI 031/ENER 030) - Assessment published Apr 2012
Energy (Primary topic)
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
- CSI 031
- ENER 030
Key policy question: How fast the share of renewable electricity in total gross electricity consumption is increasing in Europe?
In 2009, the share of renewable electricity in gross electricity consumption in the EU-27 was 19.8 % compared to 13% in 1990. Renewable electricity grew by 3.3%/year since 1990 Hydropower accounts for 62% in renewable electricity production, following by wind 20.9%, biomass and wastes 14.3%,2.2% for photovoltaic and 1% geothermal. Despite good progress, only four countries have already met the indicative national target for the renewable electricity directive and three are very close, meaning that much more needs to be done in individual countries to achieve their targets by 2010. As a whole however, the EU is close to meeting its target. A simple forecast based on the trend to date would mean the EU would reach 20% energy generation from renewable by 2020, just 1% short of target. Given an increasing trend in more recent years, there is reason to be positive about this target being met.
Average annual growth rates of renewable energy in electricity consumption (EU-27) for 1990-2009 and 2008-2009
Note: Average annual growth rates of renewable energy in electricity consumption (EU-27) for 1990-2009 and 2008-2009.
Eurostat. Energy statistics: Supply, transformation, consumption - electricity - annual data. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/data/database
Renewable electricity as a percentage of gross electicity consumption, 2009
Note: Renewable electricity as a percentage of gross electricity consumption, 2009. The renewable electricity directive (2001/77/EC) defines renewable electricity as the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in total electricity consumption. The latter includes imports and exports of electricity. The electricity generated from pumping in hydropower plants is included in total electricity consumption but it is not included as a renewable source of energy.
Eurostat. Energy statistics: Supply, transformation, consumption - renewables and wastes (total, solar heat, biomass, geothermal, wastes) - annual data.
Eurostat. Energy statistics: Supply, transformation, consumption - renewables (hydro, wind, photovoltaic) - annual data.
- Since 1999, renewables increased their contribution to meeting the electricity consumption in EU-27. The share in gross electricity consumption in 2009 was 19.7 % compared to 13% in 1990 (see Table 1). Renewable electricity production grew by 86 % or 3.3%/year between 1990 and 2009 (see also ENER027) - faster than the growth in overall electricity consumption (a 33 % increase over the same period, see also ENER018). On average, the share of large hydro in gross electricity consumption has declined since 2002, mainly as a result of lower rainfall and the rapid penetration of wind.
- Comparing the trend over more recent timescales from 2005 – 2009, the share in gross electricity consumption has increased by around 5% to 19.7 % (see Table 1). Renewable electricity production grew by 24 % or 5.5%/year between 2005 and 2009 (see also ENER027), compared with a fall in overall energy consumption of 2% in the same period (see also ENER018). On average, the share of large hydro in gross electricity consumption has declined since 2002, mainly as a result of lower rainfall and the rapid penetration of wind. Nevertheless, hydropower still dominates renewable electricity production in most Member States with an approximate share of 62 % across the EU-27 in 2009, compared to 20.9% for wind, 14.3 % for biomass and waste, and the remainder from solar PV (2.2%) and geothermal (1 %). The highest growth rates in renewable electricity production in 2005-2009 were observed for photovoltaic (76%/year), other biogas (39%) and wind (17 %/year) while geothermal increased by less than 1% and wave and tidal energy actually fell by around 2% (see Figure 1).
- In the most recent year’s data, 2008 - 2009, solar photovoltaic energy generation continued to grow at the fastest rate of all the renewables at 89%. Biogas also increased significantly by 62%, while the rate of wind power installation has dropped to an 11% increase. Wood, Wood Wastes and Other Solid Wastes have also increased by 11% in the last year, equally their total increase for the period 2005 – 2009. Geothermal and Tidal and Wave energy production have both fallen by 3% between 2008 – 2009.
- There are significant differences in the share of renewables in electricity consumption between the EU-27 Member States. These reflect differences in the availability of natural resources in each country, as well as the policies chosen to support the development of renewable energy. Amongst the EU-27, Switzerland (57%), Austira (55%) and Sweden (51% had the greatest shares of renewable electricity in gross electricity consumption in 2009 if large hydropower is included. Denmark (15%), Portugal (10%) and Spain (11%) show the largest share of non hydro renewable electricity. Non-EU EEA Norway has a 99 % share of renewable electricity from hydropower and the remaining 1% primarily from wind.
 In Spain and Portugal the dominant source is wind. In Denmark it is a balanced contribution.
Renewable electricity consumption (IEA)
provided by International Energy Agency (IEA)
provided by US Energy Information Administration (EIA)
Energy statistics (Eurostat)
provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoMihai Florin Tomescu
EEA Management Plan2011 2.8.1 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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