Renewable gross final energy consumption (ENER 028) - Assessment published Aug 2011
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?
In 2008, the share of renewable energy in final gross energy consumption (with normalised hydro and wind) in the EU-27 was 10.4 % (up from 6% in 1990, 7.6 % in 2000), representing half of the 20 % target set in the EU directive on renewable energy for 2020. Renewable energies represented in 2008, 11.8% of total final heat consumption (up from 6.3% in 1990, 9% in 2000), 17% of electricity consumption (up from 12% in 1990, 13.8% in 2000) and 3.4% of transport fuels consumption (up from 0.02% in 1993)
 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.
 The gross final consumption of energy from renewable sources is calculated as the sum of: (a) gross final consumption of electricity from renewable energy sources; (b) gross final consumption of energy from renewable sources for heating and cooling; and (c) final consumption of energy from renewable sources in transport.
- 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. The final energy consumption of renewables has increased faster since 2004. It rose by 33.7% in EU-27 or 7.5%/year
- The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption in the EU-27 reached 10.4% in 2008, which is representing about half of the target for 2020 (see Figure 1)
- The fastest progression in the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption since 2004 is observed in Sweden and Austria (+6.1% and 5.6% between 2005 and 2008), followed by Romania, Portugal (+3.4%) and Germany (+3%).
- The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption across all EEA countries in 2008 was 11.6 %. The higher number for the whole EEA is caused by the high share of renewables in Norway and Iceland, with 61.3 % and 51.7 % respectively (2006 for Iceland).
 For sake of simplicity final energy consumption total or by fuel (electricity, heat) refer to the gross final energy consumption as defined above.
Specific policy question: How rapidly are renewable energies being consumed in electricity, heat and transport sectors?
- In 2008, renewable electricity (with normalised hydropower and wind) accounted for around 40 % of renewable energy consumption in EU-27; this share has remained largely constant since 2004. In total, renewable electricity consumption has increased by 41% since 2004, with an average annual growth rate of 9 %.
- The largest portion of renewable electricity in EU-27 is still generated from hydropower, although its share is rapidly declining to 58 % in 2008, due to the rapid penetration of non-hydro renewable electricity (15.7%/year since 2004), in particular wind electricity (19.4%/year) and to a lesser extent biomass (12%/year). In 2008, 49 % of non-hydro renewable electricity was generated from wind, 45.4 % from biomass, 3.1% from PV and 2.4% from geothermal energy. The largest contributor of non hydro renewable electricity are Germany (30%), Spain (17%), Italy (8%), UK (7%), France, Finland and Sweden (5% each) .
- Between 1993 and 2008, heat consumption from other renewable sources such as solar, geothermal sources, waste and biomass increased by 58 %, at an average annual rate of 2.6 %, and accounted in 2008 for 46% of the total final renewable energy consumption. The heat produced from large biomass CHP and heat plants has doubled since 1990 (7.3%/year) and accounted in 2008, for 6.2 % of the total final renewable energy consumption, representing an almost threefold increase since 1990. The main producers of biomass-derived heat are Sweden (35%), Finland (17%), Germany (11%), Denmark (10%) and Austria, which together accounted for 81 % of the total biomass use for heat production in CHP and heat plants in 2008.
- In 2008, the share of biofuels in transport petrol and diesel consumption reached 3.4 % in EU-27. This represents 60% of the 2010 target (5.8%); this nevertheless represents a steep increase compared to 2005, when this share was only 1% (0.02% in 2000). Four countries have already exceeded the target of 5.75% in 2010: Slovakia with 6.6%, followed by Germany 6.5%, Austria 6% and France 5.8%. Roughly half of the EU-27 countries have a share of less than 1 % but steep increases occurred particularly between 2006 and 2007. In 2008, Germany is by far the largest consumer of biofuels, accounting for 31 % of total biofuels consumption in the EU-27 (49% in 2007), followed by France with 23% (19% in 2007). However, recent policy developments such as reduced tax exemptions for biofuels and introduction of a quota system with a level lower than expected are likely to temper further development of biofuels in Germany, in the near future
 The method used here for calculating the contribution of hydropower differs from that employed in ENER 30. Here, differences in rainfall are compensated by using a weighted average load factor for the past 15 years instead of the actual production that is used in ENER 30.
 Includes residual heat from power plants and industry that can be attributed to the use of biomass and excludes residual heat from biomass-based large CHP and heat plants.
 Biomass derived residual heat from CHP and heat plant.
Specific policy question: What are the observed trends in renewable heat consumption in sectors (industry, households, services, etc)?
- Between 1990 and 2008, in EU-27 renewable heat consumption increased by 55.8% in the industry sector and by 59 % in other sectors (households, services, etc). Sweden, Germany and Finland are large industrial renewable heat consumers, accounting for around 52% of total EU-27 industrial consumption of renewable heat in 2008. Due to the presence of large wood industries (pulp and paper), both countries have a large feedstock of black liquor which is used to produce industrial heat. France, Turkey and Germany are amongst the countries with highest consumption of renewable heat in other sectors (households, services, etc). Romania, the Czech Republic and Germany contributed most to the absolute growth in consumption of renewable heat in the others sectors. Turkey showed a large decline in use of renewables for heat production (-18.6 %) between 1990 and 2008. This is due in part to a transition of wood fuelled domestic heating systems to other types of heating systems
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 InfoCinzia Pastorello
EEA Management Plan2010 2.8.1 (note: EEA internal system)
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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