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Renewable energy consumption - outlook from EEA

Indicator Specificationexpired Created 12 Apr 2007 Published 08 Jun 2009 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
This content has been archived on 12 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated
Indicator codes: Outlook 052
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Assessment versions

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  • No published assessments


Justification for indicator selection

The share of energy consumption from renewable energy provides a broad indication of progress towards reducing the environmental impact of energy consumption, although its overall impact has to be seen within the context of the total fuel mix, potential impacts on biodiversity and the extent to which pollution abatement equipment is fitted.

Renewable energy sources are generally considered environmentally benign, with very low net emissions of CO2 per unit of energy produced, even allowing for emissions associated with the construction of the plant. Emissions of other pollutants are also often lower for renewable energy production than for fossil fuel energy production. The exception to this is municipal and solid waste (MSW) incineration which, due to the cost associated with separation, usually involves the combustion of some mixed wastes including materials contaminated with heavy metals. However, emissions from MSW incineration are subject to stringent regulations including tight controls on quantities of cadmium, mercury, and other such substances.


Most renewable (and non-renewable) energy sources have some impact on landscape, noise and ecosystems, although many of these impacts can be minimised through careful site selection. Large hydropower schemes in particular, can have adverse impacts including flooding, disruption of ecosystems and hydrology, and socio-economic impacts if resettlement is required. Some solar photovoltaic schemes require relatively large quantities of heavy metals in their construction and geothermal energy can release pollutant gases carried by its hot fluid if not properly controlled. Some types of biomass and biofuel crops also have considerable land, water and agricultural input requirements such as fertilisers and pesticides.

Scientific references

Indicator definition


Renewable energy consumption is the ratio between the gross inland consumption of energy from renewable sources and the total (primary) gross inland energy consumption calculated for a calendar year.. It is calculated as the sum of the gross inland consumption of energy from renewable sources.

Model used



European Environment Agency

Temporal coverage

1990 - 2030

Geographical coverage

EU-27: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Czech republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia



The indicator is provided in relative (Mtoe) and absolute ways (share in percentage).

Renewable energy consumption is measured in million tones of oil equivalent (Mtoe). The share of the renewable energy sources in total energy consumption is also measured in the form of a percentage.

Policy context and targets

Context description

Global level

The Plan of Implementation adopted at WSSD is particulary concerning sustainable energy future. It aims to diversify  energy supply by developing more cost-effective energy technologies such as renewable energy technologies including hydro-technologies.

Pan-European level

 The Guidelines on Reforming Energy Pricing and Subsidies prepared jointly by the UNECE Committees on Environmental Policy and on Sustainable Energy (UNECE Guidelines) as a means of implementing the energy-related provisions of the Aarhus decisions have a number of ways how to meet increasing role of renewable energy within economic instruments and marketing mechanisms.

EU level

On 23 January 2008 the European Commission adopted the 'Climate Action and Renewable Energy' package. The Package sets a number of targets for EU member states with the ambition to achieve the goal of limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times including: GHG reduction of 20% compared to 1990 by 2020. (under a satisfactory global climate agreement this could be scaled up to a 30% reduction); 20% reduction in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency, an increase in renewable energy's share to 20% and a 10% share for sustainably produced biofuels and other renewable fuels in transport. With these goals in mind, each Member State will by June 30th 2010 submit a National Renewable Energy Action Plan to the Commission.

EECCA level

EECCA Strategy follows the proclamations of the Kiev Declaration. However, conceptions of the "renewable energy consumption" are still developing in EECCA regions and are not proclaimed clearly in the current policies.


Pan-European level

  • Increasing the share of renewable energy sources (published in Kiev Declaration in 2003).
  • Reforming energy prices and subsidies to promote renewable energy (UNECE Guidelines) EU level

EU level

  • increase the share of renewables in its overall energy mix to 20%, including a 10% biofuel target for transport by 2020

EECCA level

  • Mobilise investments for renewable energy (EECCA Strategy)

Links to other policy documents

Related policy documents

Key policy question

Are we switching to renewable energy sources to meet our energy consumption?


Methodology for indicator calculation

The indicator of the Renewable energy consumption is produced using the PRIMES model. The model covers the horizon from 1990 to 2030 with 5 years periods. A fundamental assumption in PRIMES is that producers and consumers both respond to changes in prices.

Overview of the PRIMES Model

PRIMES is a partial equilibrium model for the European Union energy system developed by, and maintained at, The National Technical University of Athens, E3M-Laboratory. The most recent version of the model used in the calculations covers each of the EU Member States, EU candidate countries and Neighbouring countries, uses Eurostat as the main data source, and is updated with 2000 as the base year. The PRIMES model is the result of collaborative research under a series of projects supported by the Joule programme of the Directorate General for Research of the European Commission.

The model determines the equilibrium by finding the prices of each energy form such that the quantity producers find best to supply match the quantity consumers wish to use. The equilibrium is static (within each time period) but repeated in a time-forward path, under dynamic relationships. The model is behavioural but also represents in an explicit and detailed way the available energy demand and supply technologies and pollution abatement technologies. It reflects considerations about market economics, industry structure, energy/environmental policies and regulation. These are conceived so as to influence the market behaviour of energy system agents. The modular structure of PRIMES reflects a distribution of decision-making among agents that decide individually about their supply, demand, combined supply and demand, and prices. Then the market-integrating part of PRIMES simulates market clearing. PRIMES is a general purpose model. It conceived for forecasting, scenario construction and policy impact analysis. It covers a medium to long-term horizon. It is modular and allows either for a unified model use or for partial use of modules to support specific energy studies.

For more information see:; http://www.e3mlab.ntua,gr/ and

Methodology for gap filling

No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.

Methodology references


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Anita Pirc Velkavrh


No owners.


Indicator code
Outlook 052
Version id: 1


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DPSIR: Response
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100