Renewable gross final energy consumption (ENER 028) - Assessment published Apr 2012
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 2009, the share of renewable energy in final gross energy consumption (with normalised hydro and wind) in the EU-27 was 11.7 % up from 6% in 1990, representing nearly 60 % of the 20 % target set in the EU directive on renewable energy for 2020. Renewable energies represented in 2009, 13.1% of total final heat consumption (6.6% in 1990), 19.6% of electricity consumption (up from 11.8% in 1990) and 4.1% 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.
- In the EU-27, renewables accounted for 11.7% of final energy consumption in 2009 compared to 6% in 1990, representing nearly 60% of the 2020 target (see Figure 2). Renewable energy consumption mainly increased from 2005 to 2009; in the same time the overall final energy consumption decreased by 1.7%/year. In 2009 and despite the economic and financial crisis, renewable energy consumption continues to grow (+4.9%) as total final energy consumption falls (-5.2%).The fastest progression in the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption between 2005 and 2009 is mainly observed in Sweden and Austria (+6.8 percentage points and 6.5 percentage points), followed by Estonia (+5.4 percentage points), Romania (+5.3 percentage points), Spain (+4.7 percentage points) and Portugal (4.1 percentage points). 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 share of renewable energy in final energy consumption across non-EU EEA countries in 2009 was higher than in the EU-27 (around 24%). The higher number for these countries is linked to the high share of hydroelectricity in Norway, (65.1 %.including other renewables). The final consumption of renewables however decreased by 0.4%/year since 1990 and dropped in 2009 by 4.1%.
Specific policy question: How rapidly are renewable energies being consumed in electricity, heat and transport sectors?
- In 2009, renewable electricity (with normalised hydropower and wind) accounted for around 40.6 % of renewable energy consumption in EU-27 (39.7% in 1990, 43.6% in 2005). The largest portion of renewable electricity in EU-27 is still generated from hydropower. In 2009, 352 TWh of electricity were generated from hydropower (normalised hydro) representing 55.6% in total renewable electricity. The largest contributors of non hydro renewable electricity are Germany (30%), Spain (18%), Italy, UK (8% each), France and Sweden (5% each). Wind generation (normalised) increased by 18.5%/year in EU since 2005, due to a rapid increase in Germany (+11.5%/year, contribution of 31% in the 2009 EU wind production), Spain (16.4%/year, contribution 28%), UK (34.2%/year, contribution 7%) and France (66.4%/year, contribution of 6%) (see ENER 27).
- All countries in Europe have introduced renewable policies and support scheme for renewables in their Energy Plan: 16 EEA countries offer feed-in tariffs to support development of electricity generation from renewables. In six countries, tariffs are mixed with premiums on top of the market price to compensate the difference when wholesale electricity price is below a fixed guaranteed tariff: Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic. In other six countries, a green certificate scheme has been preferred: Sweden, UK, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Romania. Electricity producers have to certify a certain quota of the electricity distributed is generated from renewables.
- In 2009, renewable heat accounted for 13.1% of total final heat consumption. Between 1990 and 2009, the amount of heat produced from direct use of biomass was 58.3 Mtoe, representing 43.5% of the final renewable energy consumption. Heat production from large biomass CHP and heat plants was 9.4 Mtoe, representing a threefold increase since 1990. In 2009, it accounted for 7.1% of the final renewable energy consumption. The main producers of biomass-derived heat are Sweden (32%), Germany (17%), Finland (14%), Denmark (13%) and Austria (7%), which together accounted for 82 % of the total biomass use for heat production in CHP and heat plants in 2009.
- In 2009, the share of biofuels in petrol and diesel reached 4.1 % in EU-27, representing 70% of the target of 5.75% in 2010 and a steep increase compared to 2005 ( +3.1 percentage points). In 2009, four countries have already exceeded the 2010 target : Slovakia with 9.8%, followed by Austria (7%), France (6.2%) and Germany (5.8%). In 2009, Germany was by far the largest consumer of biofuels, accounting for 23 % of total biofuels consumption in the EU-27, followed by France with 21%. 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.
 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 2009, renewable heat consumption in EU-27 increased by 50% in the industry sector and by 56% in other sectors (households, services, etc). Sweden, Germany and Finland are the largest users of renewable heat in industry, accounting for around 46% of total EU-27 industrial consumption of renewable heat in 2009. 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). Germany, Romania and Poland 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 2009 (-30.8 %); this is due in part to a transition of wood fuelled domestic heating systems to gas and district heating.
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 Plan2011 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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