Renewable electricity consumption (CSI 031/ENER 030) - Assessment published Apr 2006
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?
The share of renewable energy in EU electricity consumption grew slightly over the period 1990-2003 to reach 12.8 %. Significant further growth will be needed to meet the EU indicative target of a 21 % share by 2010.
Renewable energy makes an important contribution to meeting electricity consumption with a share of 12.8 % in 2003. However, this share has not increased significantly since 1990 (12.2 %) despite substantial growth in absolute terms. Total renewable electricity production grew by 35.9 % over the period 1990 to 2003, but this was only slightly faster than the growth in gross electricity consumption. Compared with 2001, the share of renewables in gross electricity consumption declined in 2002 and 2003 due to less production from hydropower, as a result of lower rainfall. Substantial growth is needed to meet the EU-25 indicative target of 21 % by 2010 set in Directive 2001/77/EC.
There are significant differences in the share of renewables between the EU-25 Member States. These reflect differences in the policies chosen by each country to support the development of renewable energy and the availability of natural resources.
Among the EU-25 in 2003, Austria had the largest share of renewable electricity in gross electricity consumption including large hydropower, and the seventh largest share excluding large hydropower. Denmark and Finland show the largest shares of renewable electricity in gross electricity consumption when large hydropower is excluded. Finland's high share is due mainly to electricity production from biomass, while Denmark's renewable electricity is produced by wind power and, to a much lesser extent, biomass and wastes. In both these countries, government policies have been in place to encourage the growth of these technologies. In absolute terms, Germany has the largest production of renewable electricity excluding large hydropower, mainly from wind and biomass. Within the new Member States, Latvia and Slovenia had the largest share of electricity from renewable energy in 2003, with most of this coming from large hydropower. Excluding large hydro, Slovenia has the highest renewable energy shares in electricity generation, originating mainly from small hydro and biomass and wastes.
While large hydropower dominates renewable electricity production in most Member States, it is unlikely to increase significantly in the future in the EU-25 as a whole due to environmental concerns and a lack of suitable sites. Other renewable energy sources, such as wind, biomass, solar and small-scale hydropower will therefore have to grow substantially if the 2010 target of a 21 % share is to be met. The European Commission estimates that the share of renewable electricity for the EU-15 would increase to 18 to 19 % in 2010 on the basis of currently implemented policies (COM(2004) 366 final). While Denmark, Germany, Spain and Finland are seen as being on track to meet their individual 2010 targets and Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and France are about to be on track, Greece and Portugal are considered not to be on track. Evaluations from the European Commission recently concluded that European Member States need to step up efforts to cooperate among themselves and fine-tune their support schemes as well as to remove administrative and grid barriers for green electricity (COM(2005)627 final).
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 Plan2010 (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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