Share of renewable energy in final energy consumption
Published (reviewed and quality assured)
Justification for indicator selection
Electricity and heat produced from renewable energy sources are generally considered more environmentally benign than other sources. Replacing part of the traditional transport fuels with biofuels could also have a positive environmental impact (e.g. reduced life-cycle GHG emissions), depending on which biomass is used, how and where it is grown and transported and which transformation technology is used. An increased share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption is thus likely to reduce pressures on the environment and human health resulting from energy production.
This indicator is closely linked with ENER 29, and ENER 38
- EEA (2009) - EEA Scientific Committee, Suspend 10 percent biofuels target, says EEA's scientific advisory body
- EU (2009a) Climate action and renewable energy package (CARE Package)
- EU(2011) Recent progress in developing renewable energy sources and technical evaluation of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels in transport in accordance with Article 3 of Directive 2001/77/EC and Article 4(2) of Directive 2003/30/EC (SEC2011)
- EU(2010) Summary of the Member States Forecast Documents Article 4 of Directive 2009/28/EC on Renewable Energy requires Member States to submit national renewable energy Action Plans by 30 June 2010. These plans, to be prepared in accordance with the template published by the European Commission (EC), provide detailed roadmaps of how each Member State expects to reach its legally binding 2020 target for the share of renewable energy in their final energy consumption.
- EU project RE-SHAPING (“Shaping an effective and efficient European renewable energy market”) EU project RE-SHAPING (“Shaping an effective and efficient European renewable energy market”) to assist Member State governments in preparing for the implementation of the RES Directive and to shape a European policy for RES in the medium to long term
Final Renewable Energy Consumption is the amount of renewable energy consumed in the member states with actual and normalised hydro and wind power generation and the share in the total final energy consumption. The final renewable energy consumption is composed of renewable energy for heat, renewable energy for electricity and the use of biofuels in transport
The indicator is developed for measuring the contribution to the 2020 objectives on renewable energy for the EU-27. The Directive 2009/28/EC establishes an overall EU binding target of a 20 % share of renewable energy sources in energy consumption, as well as binding national targets by 2020 in line with the overall target. The overall share of renewable energy in the final energy consumption includes consumption of electricity and heat from renewable energy sources as well as biofuels consumption.
 Final Renewable Energy Consumption is the amount of renewable energy consumed in the member states with actual and normalised 15-year hydro power generation and 4-year wind and the share in the total final energy consumption. Due to this constraints, normalized data are only available from 2004 to 2009.
Final energy consumption, Distribution losses, Consumption - Electricity generation sector: MToe
Gross inland consumption, Total gross electricity generation: GWh
Policy context and targets
The share of electricity consumption from renewable energy sources provides a broad indication of progress towards reducing the environmental impact of electricity consumption on the environment as renewable electricity is generally considered to have lower life-cycle environmental impact per unit of electricity produced than fossil-fuelled power plants. Increasing the share of renewables in electricity consumption will help the EU to reduce the GHG emissions from power generation but the overall impact will depend on which generation sources are being replaced in the energy system.
Emissions of air pollutants are also generally lower for renewable electricity production than for electricity produced from fossil fuels. The exception to this is the incineration of Municipal and Solid Waste (MSW), which due to high costs of separation, usually involves the combustion of some mixed wastes including materials contaminated with heavy metals. Emissions to the atmosphere from MSW incineration are subject to stringent regulations including tight controls on emissions of cadmium, mercury, and other such substances.
The exploitation of renewable energy sources may have negative impacts on landscapes, habitats and ecosystems, although many impacts can be minimised through careful site selection. Hydropower schemes in particular can have adverse impacts including flooding, disruption of ecosystems and hydrology, and socio-economic impacts if resettlement is required (for large hydro). Some solar photovoltaic schemes require relatively large quantities of heavy metals in their construction and geothermal energy can release pollutant gases carried by hot fluids if not properly controlled. Wind turbines can have visual impacts on the areas in which they are sited. Some types of biomass and biofuel crops have considerable land, water and agricultural input requirements such as fertilisers and pesticides.
The Europe 2020 growth growth strategy aims to address shortcoming of the European economic model while creating coditions for smarter, more sustainable and inclusive growth. One of the headline targets include the objective of increasing the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20% by 2020.
The Directive 2012/27/eu on energy efficiency establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the European Union in order to achieve the headline target of 20% reduction in gross inland energy consumption. Member States are requested to set indicative targets. It is up to the Member states whether they base their targets on gross inland consumption, final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity. This directive has a direct impact on the renewables target since it aims to reduce the final energy consumption, thus making the renewables target easier to reach.
A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050 (COM(2011) 112 final). Presents a roadmap for action in line with a 80-95% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050.
On 15 December 2011, the European Commission adopted the Communication "Energy Roadmap 2050". The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries as a group. In the Energy Roadmap 2050 the Commission explores the challenges posed by delivering the EU's decarbonisation objective while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness.
On 10 November 2010, the European Commission has adopted the Communication "Energy 2020 - A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy". The Communication defines the energy priorities for the next ten years and sets the actions to be taken in order to tackle the challenges of saving energy, achieving a market with competitive prizes and secure supplies, boosting technological leadership, and effectively negotiate with our international partners.
Council adopted on 6 April 2009 the climate-energy legislative package containing measures to fight climate change and promote renewable energy. This package is designed to achieve the EU's overall environmental target of a 20 % reduction in greenhouse gases and a 20 % share of renewable energy in the EU's total energy consumption by 2020.The climate action and renewable energy (CARE) package includes the following main policy documents:
- Directive 2009/29/EC of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the community
- Directive 2009/31/EC of the European parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide
- Directive 2009/28/EC of the European parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
- Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection (2008/c 82/01)
- Directive 2008/101/EC of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas Emission allowance trading within the community
- Regulation (EC) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles
Directive 2006/12/EC on waste requires all EU Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure that waste is treated and disposed of correctly, sets targets for re-use and recycling, and requires Member States to draw up binding national programmes for waste prevention.
Second Strategic Energy Review; COM(2008) 781 final
Strategic review on short, medium and long term targets on EU energy security.
The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan; COM(2007) 723
Focuses on bringing new renewable energy technologies to market competitiveness.
For the transport sector (see CSI 037)
In 2009 the European Commission adopted a new directive on renewable energy that set an ambitious target of 20% share of energy from renewable sources in final energy consumption by 2020 for the EU-27 and a 10% share of renewable energy in the transport sector.
In 2010, five countries almost reached their targets for 2020: Sweden and Romania are the closest with, 98% each of the target in 2010, followed by Estonia (97%), Austria (89%) and Bulgaria (86%) (see Figure 3).
According to a recent progress report of the EC (EU, 2011), progress in deploying renewable energy has been made across the EU in recent years. However, the report also highlights that there is still limited convergence in Member States' performance in developing renewable energy sources.
Further growth to achieve the 20% target will depend on further fine-tuning of existing policy frameworks, improved market conditions for grid access of renewable sources, fully implementing a guarantee of origin system to allow further development of renewable consumer market. In addition, a better, more integrated planning would be required to ensure not only high efficiency of investment and accelerated pace of development but also that the penetration of these sources takes place in a manner that would minimize the environmental impact within and outside the European Union.
Use of flexible mechanisms as provided by the Renewable Directive
The Renewable Energy Directive requires Member States to submit National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs); these (NREAPs) detail road maps of how each Member State expects to reach its legally binding 2020 target for the share of renewable energy in their final energy consumption and establish pathways for the development of renewable energy sources including bioenergy, creates cooperation mechanisms to help achieve the targets cost effectively and establishes sustainability criteria for biofuels.
Flexible and cooperative measures have been proposed into the directive in order to help countries achieve their targets in a cost-effective way without undermining market stability. The European target of 20% of RES share in final energy consumption by 2020 is build through an allocation of national targets based on a flat rate approach (same additional share for each country) adjusted to the Member State’s GDP. As the available RES varies across countries, the Directive provides for three cooperation mechanisms that will allow Member States with low or expensive RES potential to achieve their national RES target in cooperation with other member states with higher RES potential and lower production costs. The three intra EU cooperation mechanisms are: statistical transfer, joint projects and join support schemes (as described below). Additionally Member State can also import RES electricity from third countries outside EU (“joint projects between Member States and third countries”).
- Member States may agree on the statistical transfer of a specified amount of renewable energy between themselves. Renewable energy is thus virtually transferred to the RES statistics of another Member State, counting towards the national RES target of the latter Member State.
- Joint projects are RES electricity or heating/cooling projects between two or several Member States; one Member State may provide financial support for a RES project in another country and count (part of) the project’s energy production towards its own target. They can also cooperate on any type of joint project relating to the production of renewable energy, involving private operators if they like.
- In the case of joint support schemes, two or more Member States may decide, on a voluntary basis, to join or partly coordinate their national support schemes in order to help achieve their targets. In such cases, a certain amount of energy from renewable sources produced in the territory of one participating Member State may count towards the national overall target of another participating Member State.
According to the Member States forecasts in their NREAPs, ten countries expect to have a surplus in 2020 compared to their binding target. This surplus could be available to transfer to another Member State. The quantity is estimated at around 5.5 Mtoe, or around 2% of the total renewables needed in 2020. Five Member States expect to have a deficit (Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta) in 2020 compared to their binding target for the share of renewable energy in their final energy consumption. These Member States thus require transfers from another Member State or third country, through the use of the Directive's cooperation mechanisms. The quantity amounts to around 2 Mtoe (<1% of the total renewable energy needed in 2020). According to these forecast documents, the total production of renewable energy would exceed the 20% target and reach 20.3% in 2020.
 Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
 NREAP should be submitted by 30 June 2010
 The Directive uses the term “cooperation mechanisms” instead of “flexibility mechanisms” in order to distinguish these mechanisms from the Kyoto flexible mechanisms.
 Results from the European Commission (2010), “ Summary of the Member States Forecast documents” available on the website http://ec.europa.eu/energy/renewables/action_plan_en.htm
Related policy documents
Regulation (ec) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.
Directive on Waste
Directive 2008/101/ec of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas Emission allowance trading within the community
Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection (2008/c 82/01)
Directive 2009/29/ec of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the community.
Directive 2009/31/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide.
Climate action and renewable energy package (CARE Package)
Combating climate change is a top priority for the EU. Europe is working hard to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise.
COM (2011) 112 - A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050
With its "Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050" the European Commission is looking beyond these 2020 objectives and setting out a plan to meet the long-term target of reducing domestic emissions by 80 to 95% by mid-century as agreed by European Heads of State and governments. It shows how the sectors responsible for Europe's emissions - power generation, industry, transport, buildings and construction, as well as agriculture - can make the transition to a low-carbon economy over the coming decades.
Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-plan); COM(2007) 723
European Commission, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, Brussels, 2008
COM(2008) 781 final - Second Strategic Energy Review
COM(2010) 639 final: Energy 2020 – A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy
A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy
COM(2012) 271 final
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: “Renewable Energy : a major player in the European energy market”
DIRECTIVE 2001/77/EC Renewable electricity
Directive 2001/77/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market
Directive 2003/30/EC, use of biofuels and renewable fuels
Promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport. Directive 2003/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 May 2003 on the promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport.
DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC
Key policy question
How rapidly are renewable technologies being implemented in Europe?
Methodology for indicator calculation
Methodology of data manipulation:
The share of renewable energy as a percentage of final energy consumption. The coding used (in the Eurostat database) and specific components of the indicator are:
A. Final energy consumption 101700 (0000 all products), ktoe
B. Final energy consumption - Industry 101800 (0000 all products), ktoe
C. Final energy consumption - Households/Services 102000 (0000 all products), ktoe
D. Consumption - Electricity generation sector 101301 (6000 electrical energy), ktoe
E. Distribution losses 101400 (6000 electrical energy), ktoe
F. Final energy consumption - Industry 101800 (6000 electrical energy), ktoe
G. Final energy consumption - Households/Services 102000 (6000 electrical energy), ktoe
H. Gross inland consumption 100900 (6000 electrical energy), GWh
I. Total gross electricity generation 107000 (6000 electrical energy), GWh
J. Gross electricity generation - Geothermal power plants 107002 (6000 electrical energy), GWh
K. Gross electricity generation - Wind turbines (6000 electrical energy), GWh calculated as a sum of main electricity activity only (15_107046) and autoproducers (15_107047)
L. Gross electricity generation - Biomass-fired power stations (6000 electrical energy), GWh calculated as a sum of :
- industrial wastes (main electricity activity 22_108901, Main activity CHP plants 22_108902, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108903, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108904)
- municipal wastes (main electricity activity 22_108911, Main activity CHP plants 22_108912, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108913, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108914)
- municipal wastes (non renewable): (main electricity activity 22_108921, Main activity CHP plants 22_108922, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108923, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108924)
- Wood, Wood Wastes and Other Solid Wastes: (main electricity activity 22_108931, Main activity CHP plants 22_108932, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108933, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108934)
- Landfill gas : (main electricity activity 22_108941, Main activity CHP plants 22_108942, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108943, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108944)
- Sludge gas: (main electricity activity 22_108951, Main activity CHP plants 22_108952, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108953, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108954)
- Other biogas: (main electricity activity 22_108961, Main activity CHP plants 22_108962, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108963, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108964)
- Other liquid biofuels: (main electricity activity 22_108971, Main activity CHP plants 22_108972, Autoproducer electricity only 22_108973, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108974)
M. Gross production from solar (6000 electrical energy), GWh calculated as a sum :
- Main activity electricity only - Solar Photovoltaic (14_1070421)
- Main activity electricity only - Solar Thermal (14_1070422)
- Autoproducer electricity only – Solar (14_1070431)
N. Consumption - Electricity generation sector 101301 (5200 derived heat), ktoe
O. Distribution losses 101400 (5200 derived heat), ktoe
P. Origin : Biomass 109300 (5200 derived heat), ktoe calculated as a sum :
- industrial wastes (Main activity CHP plants 22_108906, Main activity heat only plants 22_108907, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108908, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108909)
- municipal wastes (Main activity CHP plants 22_108916, Main activity heat only plants 22_108917, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108918, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108919)
- municipal wastes (non renewable): (Main activity CHP plants 22_108926, Main activity heat only plants 22_108927, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108928, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108929)
- Wood, Wood Wastes and Other Solid Wastes: (Main activity CHP plants 22_108936, Main activity heat only plants 22_108937, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108938, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108939)
- Landfill gas : (Main activity CHP plants 2222_108946, Main activity heat only plants 22_108947, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108948, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108949)
- Sludge gas: (Main activity CHP plants 22_108956, Main activity heat only plants 22_108957, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108958, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108959)
- Other biogas: (Main activity CHP plants 22_108966, Main activity heat only plants 22_108967, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108968, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108969)
- Other liquid biofuels: (Main activity CHP plants 22_108976, Main activity heat only plants 22_108977, Autoproducer CHP plants 22_108978, Autoproducer heat only plants 22_108979)
Q. Final energy consumption - Transport 101900 (3230 motor spirit), ktoe
R. Final energy consumption - Transport 101900 (3260 gas / diesel oil), ktoe
S. Final energy consumption - Industry 101800 (5500 renewable energies), ktoe
T. Final energy consumption - Households/Services 102000 (5500 renewable energies), ktoe
U. Primary production 100100 (5510 hydro power), ktoe
V. Primary production 100100 (5510 hydro power), GWh
W. Final energy consumption - Transport 101900 (5545 biofuels), ktoe
X. Net installed capacity - Hydro power stations 117605 (6000 electrical energy), MW calculated as a sum:
- Electrical capacity, main activity producers 12_1176051
- Electrical capacity, autoproducers - Hydro 12_1176052
Y. Net installed capacity - Pumped storage plants 117607 (6000 electrical energy), MW
- Electrical capacity, main activity producers - Pumped Hydro 12_1176071
- Electrical capacity, autoproducers - Pumped Hydro 12_1176072
i. Share of RE for heat in Industry: S / (B – F)
ii. Share of RE for heating in Households, Services, etc.: T / (C – G)
iii. Total consumption in Industry and Other Sectors: B + C
iv. Total Electricity consumption in Industry and Households: F + G
v. Total RE input for heat in industry and Other Sectors: S + T
vi. Share of renewables to total final heat needs: (v + P) / (iii – iv)
vii. Hydro installed capacity excluding pumping in MW: X – Y
viii. Hydro weighted average load factor, last 15 years: SUM ((U / vii) * (vii / (SUM last 15 years X – SUM last 15 years Y)))
ix. Normalised hydro generation (excluding pumping): vii * viii
x. Total Gross electricity consumption: (I + H) * 3.6 / 41.868
xi. Electricity generation from RE with actual hydro generation: (V + J + K + L + M) * 3.6 / 41.868
xii. Electricity generation from RE without hydro generation: (J + K + L + M) * 3.6 / 41.868
xiii. Electricity generation from RE with normalised hydro generation: ix + xii
xiv. RE-e to total gross electricity consumption: xi / x
xv. RE-e with normalised hydro (15 year average load factor): xiii / x
xvi. Total final consumption of petrol and diesel for transport: Q + R
xvii. Share of biofuels in petrol and diesel consumption for road transport: W / xvi
xviii. Share of RE to Final Energy Consumption: (v + P + xi + W) / (A + E +O + D + N)
xix. Share of RE to FEC with normalised for hydro: (v + P + xiii + W) / (A + E + O + D + N)
The Agency had 32 member countries. These are the 27 European Union Member States and Turkey, plus Norway and Switzerland. Iceland and Liechtenstein are not covered in this factsheet due to lack of data for recent years.
Methodology and frequency of data collection:
Data collected annually.
Eurostat definitions and concepts for energy statistics http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_SDDS/en/nrg_quant_esms.htm
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
Indicator uncertainty (historic data):
Biomass and wastes, as defined by Eurostat, cover organic, non-fossil material of biological origin, which may be used for heat production or electricity generation. They comprise wood and wood waste, biogas, municipal solid waste (MSW) and biofuels. MSW comprises biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes produced by different sectors. Non-biodegradable municipal and solid wastes are not considered to be renewable, but current data availability does not allow the non-biodegradable content of wastes to be identified separately, except for industry.
The electricity produced as a result from hydropower storage systems is not classified as a renewable source of energy in terms of electricity production, but is part of the gross electricity consumption in a country. The hydro and wind generation is calculated as actual generation and normalised generation. Normalised generation is calculated using the weighted average load factor over the last 15 years for hydro and 5-year for wind.
The indicator measures the relative consumption of energy from renewable sources in total energy consumption for a particular country. The share of renewable energy could increase even if the actual energy consumption from renewable sources falls. Similarly, the share could fall despite an increase in energy consumption from renewable sources. CO2 emissions depend not on the share of renewables but on the total amount of energy consumed from fossil sources. Therefore, from an environmental point of view, attaining the 2020 target for the share of renewable energy does not necessarily imply that CO2 emissions from energy consumption will fall.
Electricity consumption within the national territory includes imports of electricity from neighbouring countries. It also excludes the electricity produced nationally but exported abroad. In some countries the contribution of electricity trade to total electricity consumption and the changes observed from year to year need to be looked at carefully when analysing trends in renewable electricity. Impacts on the (national) environment are also affected since emissions are accounted where the electricity is produced whereas consumption is accounted where the electricity is consumed.
Data sets uncertainty
Strengths and weaknesses (at data level):
Data have been traditionally compiled by Eurostat through the annual Joint Questionnaires, shared by Eurostat and the International Energy Agency, following a well established and harmonised methodology. Methodological information on the annual Joint Questionnaires and data compilation can be found in Eurostat's web page for metadata on energy statistics. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_SDDS/en/nrg_quant_esms.htm
No uncertainty has been specified
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.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoMihai Florin Tomescu
Frequency of updates
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
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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