Share of renewable energy in final energy consumption (ENER 028) - Assessment published Mar 2013
Energy (Primary topic)
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
- ENER 028
Key policy question: How rapidly are renewable technologies being implemented in Europe?
The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption in the EU-27 reached 12.5% in 2010 representing 60% of the Europe 2020 target (20%). Renewable energies represented in 2010, 14.3% of total final heat consumption, 19.6% of electricity consumption and 4.7% of transport fuels consumption.
Key assessment: penetration of renewable energy in final energy consumption
- In the EU-27, renewables accounted for 12.5% of final energy consumption in 2010 compared to 8.5% in 2005, representing nearly 60% of the 2020 target (see Figure 2). Renewable energy consumption increased rapidly from 2005 to 2009, at an average rate of 5.9%/year. In 2010, the progression was even faster and reached 10.4%. As total final energy consumption decreased by 0.7%/year between 2005 and 2009 and only grew by 3.7% in 2010, the share of renewable increased by almost 4 % between 2005 and 2010, from 8.5% to 12.5%.
- The fastest progression in the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption between 2005 and 2010 is observed in Sweden (+7.3%), followed by Estonia (+6.9%), Austria (+6.4%) and Romania (6.1%). Most of EU countries proposes financial (subsidies/ soft loans for energy efficiency investments / equipment) or fiscal incentives (tax reduction for energy/CO2 efficient equipment/investments, tax credit /deduction) to promote renewables, especially in the household sector. For renewable electricity, most countries have implemented feed-in tariff and/or green certificates to increase the electricity production from renewables (see below). The EU Directive 2009/28/EC provides also for three cooperation mechanisms that will allow Member States to achieve their national RES target in 2020 (see “policy targets” part). In 2012, feed in tariffs decreased significantly in several EU countries such as UK, Spain, Italy, France or Germany. Spain has temporarily closed in 2012 the nation's feed-in tariff program, including FiTs for solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) generation, to new applicants. In Italy, France and more recently Germany have announced a decrease of their Feed-In-Tariff for solar PV (around 20-30% in Germany depending on the facilities, around 4.5% in France for the second quarter of 2012).
- In 2010, electricity generation from renewable sources contributed 19.6% to total EU-27 electricity generation (14.1% in 2004). There is a large variation between countries in Europe: less than 1.5% in Cyprus or Malta to 65.5% in Austria up to 97.3% in Norway.
- In 2010 renewable energy for heating and cooling accounted for 14.3% of total energy used for heating and cooling (9.6% in 2004). Increasing demand in industry as well as in residential and services contributed to this growth.
- The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption across non-EU EEA countries in 2010 was higher than in the EU-27 (around 22%). The higher number for these countries is linked to the high share of hydroelectricity in Norway, (61.1 %.including other renewable).
- In 2010, renewable heat accounted for 14.3% of total final heat consumption. Between 1990 and 2010, the amount of heat produced from direct use of biomass was 65 Mtoe, representing 44.2% of the final renewable energy consumption. Heat production from large biomass CHP and heat plants was 11.6 Mtoe, representing a threefold increase since 1990. In 2010, it accounted for 7.9% of the final renewable energy consumption. The main producers of biomass-derived heat are Sweden (31%), Germany (15%), Finland (14%), Denmark (13%) and Austria (7%), which together accounted for around 80 % of the total biomass use for heat production in CHP and heat plants in 2010.
- Between 1990 and 2010, renewable heat consumption in EU-27 increased by 65% (i.e. 2.5%/year) in the industry sector and by 76% (i.e. 2.9%/year) in other sectors (households, services, etc). Sweden, Germany and Finland are the largest users of renewable heat in industry, accounting for around 50% of total EU-27 industrial consumption of renewable heat in 2010. Due to the presence of a large pulp and paper industry, Finland and Sweden have a large resource of black liquors which is used to produce industrial heat. France, Germany and Turkey are among the countries with the highest consumption of renewable heat in other sectors (households, services, etc) in EEA countries. Germany, Romania and Italy contributed the most to the absolute growth in the consumption of renewable heat in the other sectors. Turkey showed a large decline in the use of renewables for heat production in the other sectors between 1990 and 2010 (-19.3 %); this is mainly due to a transition from wood fuelled domestic heating systems to gas and district heating.
- In 2010 the share of renewable (biofuels/bioliquids) in all modes of transport reached 4.7% in the EU-27 (1% in 2004).The share of biofuels in the energy consumption of road transport in the European Union stood at 4.7% in 2010, which is a little more than one percentage point short of the 2003 biofuel directive target for a 5.75% incorporation rate in 2010. The progression in the penetration of biofuels has been lower in 2010 than in the years before (+0.5 point compared to 1 point in 2009 and 2008). In 2010, only five countries have exceeded the 2010 target: Slovakia with 8.2%, followed by Austria (6.6%), Poland (6.4%), Germany (6.2%) and France (6.1%). In 2010, Germany was by far the largest consumer of biofuels, accounting for 22 % of total biofuels consumption in the EU-27, followed by France with 18%, then by Spain and Italy (11% each). However, in Germany, consumption of biofuels has been decreasing significantly between 2006 and 2008 in volume (-26%) and only increased moderately since then (+15%): this is mainly due to changes in support policy (reduced tax exemptions for biofuels and introduction of a quota with a level lower than expected). For the EU as a whole, the future consumption of biofuels will depend on policy developments, but also on external factors such as the increase in oil prices and the worldwide availability of biofuels.
 Gross final consumption of energy is defined in Directive 2009/28/EC on renewable sources as energy commodities delivered for energy purposes to final consumers (industry, transport, households, services, agriculture, forestry and fisheries), including the consumption of electricity and heat by the energy branch for electricity and heat production and including losses of electricity and heat in distribution and transmission.
 Official data from Eurostat only available from 2004 to 2010..
 The accounting rules in the Directive 2009/28/EC prescribes that electricity generated by hydro power and wind power have to be normalised for annual variations (hydro 15 years and wind 5 years).
 Normalised consumption for these countries calculated according to the requirement of the Directive; calculations have been done to compare with EU.
 Biomass derived residual heat from CHP and heat plant.
 It should be pointed out that the 5.75% target is in force until 1st January 2012 and those countries that have underperformed in 2010 still have another year to meet the directive’s demands. After that deadline, the target will be replaced by the specific target in the new renewable energies directive of 10% renewables share in final transport energy consumption for 2020. Biofuel should cover 90% of this 10-year objective, which includes the renewable electricity share used in transports.
Specific policy question: Answer to unknown question
Energy statistics (Eurostat)
provided by Eurostat - Statistical Office of the European Union (ESTAT)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoMihai Florin Tomescu
EEA Management Plan2012 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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