Renewable gross final energy consumption
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.
How rapidly are renewable technologies being implemented in Europe?
- 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.
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.
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
Indicator specification and metadata
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. The final renewable energy consumption is composed of renewable energy for heat, renewable energy for electricity and the use of biofuels in transport. The electricity production of hydro power is calculated both as actual production and normalised production over a 15-year weighted average (4-year weighted average for wind).
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 (link with the EEA “Life Cycle Analysis” LCA). 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.
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.
Energy 2020 – A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy (COM(2010) 639 final)
Highlights how EU infrastructure and innovation policies are supporting the renewable energy sector's development.
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 on Waste; Directive 2006/12/EC
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 2009, five countries almost reached their targets for 2020: Sweden and Romania are the closest with, respectively 97% and 95% of the target in 2009, followed by Estonia (91%), Austria (89%) and Latvia (89%) (see Figure 2).
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, improve market conditions for grid access of renewable sources, fully implement 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.
 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
Related policy documents
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.
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
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
REGULATION (EC) No 443/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 443/2009
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.
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 at the time of writing of this fact sheet. These are the 27 European Union Member States and Turkey, plus Norway and Switzerland
1990-2009, normalised hydro is calculated over a 15-year average (and 4-year for wind): for this reason normalised data are available from 2004 to 2009 only
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.
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 4-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
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
Energy statistics (Eurostat)
provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Energy (Primary topic)
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
- CSI 048
- ENER 028
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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