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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Renewable primary energy consumption

Renewable primary energy consumption

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Contents
 

Justification for indicator selection

Renewable energies are generally considered more environmentally benign than fossil fuels, particularly with regard to emissions of greenhouse gases.  Therefore, the share of energy consumption from renewable energy can provide a broad indication of progress towards reducing the environmental impact of energy consumption and production. Nevertheless, its overall impact has to be seen within the context of growth in energy use and other potential impacts on environment (e.g. biodiversity)

This indicator is closely related to indicator ENER28, “renewable energy in final energy consumption”

Scientific references:

Indicator definition

The share of renewable energy consumption is the ratio between gross inland energy consumption from renewable sources (TOE) and total gross inland energy consumption (TOE) calculated for a calendar year, expressed as a percentage. Both renewable energy and total energy consumption are measured in thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe).

Renewable energy sources are defined as renewable non-fossil sources: wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogases.
Projections are for 2020-2030 from the POLES (IPTS) Baseline and GHG Reduction Scenario (Mitigation), from PRIMES 2009 Baseline and Reference scenarios and from the WEO 2009 (IEA) Reference and 450 Scenario

Units

Both, renewable energy and total primary energy consumption are measured in thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). Therefore, the amount of renewable energy is measured in absolute value, but will be presented in the form of a percentage.

Policy context and targets

Context description

Environmental context

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.

Policy context

For the EU-15, the share of renewables in total gross inland energy consumption accounted for 9%, in 2009, falling substantially short of the indicative target set in the White Paper on renewable energy (COM(97) 599 final) of 12 % by 2010 (see Figures 1,2,3).
 
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 GHG emissions of fuels and biofuels; COM(2007) 18 final/2. Sets targets for the GHG emissions from different fuel types (e.g. by improving refinery technologies) and allows the blending of up to 10 % of biofuels into diesel and petrol.

    Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-plan); COM(2007) 723. Focuses on increasing the competitiveness of new renewable energy technologies. It aims at identifying technologies that require better coordination of Member State policies or the development of public-private partnerships with the industry.

    White Paper: Energy for the future - renewable sources of energy; COM(97) 599 final. Sets a target for the EU-15 countries for a share of 12 % RE in GEIC.

    Directive on  Waste; Directive 2006/12/EC. it 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.

    Targets

    The European Commission published a White Paper in 1997 (COM(97) 599 final) setting out a Community strategy for achieving a 12% share of renewables in total gross inland energy consumption (GIEC) in the EU-15 by 2010. The decision was motivated by concerns about security of supply and environmental protection. The contribution of renewable energy sources to GEIC in EU-15 was 8.6 % in 2008, falling significantly short of the 12% indicative target (see Figure 4 and Table 1).

    The 12% target was adopted in a 2001 directive on the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources, which also included a 22.1% target for electricity for the EU-15. As can be seen in Figure 4 already five countries reached their target (Sweden, Austria, Finland, Portugal and Denmark). The other ten are still significantly below the target, especially the UK, Luxembourg, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Greece.

    In January 2007, the Commission published a Renewable Energy Roadmap outlining a long-term strategy. It called for a mandatory target of a 20% share of renewable energies in the EU's energy mix by 2020. The target was endorsed by EU leaders in March 2007. To achieve this objective, the EU adopted a new Renewables Directive in April 2009 (2009/28/EC), which set individual targets for each member state.

    Related policy documents

    • 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.
    • 2006/12/EC
      Directive on  Waste
    • 2008/101/EC
      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
    • 2008/c 82/01
      Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection (2008/c 82/01)
    • 2009/28/EC
      Directive 2009/28/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
    • 2009/29/ec
      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.
    • 2009/31/EC
      Directive 2009/31/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide.
    • COM(97) 599 final. Energy for the future.
      Energy for the future: Renewable sources of energy. White Paper for a Community strategy and action plan. COM(97) 599 final.
    • COM(2007) 18 final
      Directive on GHG emissions of fuels and biofuels; COM(2007) 18 final/2
    • COM(2007) 723
      Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-plan); COM(2007) 723
    • 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.
    • Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC
      Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC: Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy.

    Key policy question

    How fast is the share of renewable energy in total gross energy inland consumption is increasing in Europe?

    Specific policy question

    How fast is the share of renewable energy from biomass and waste increasing in Europe?

    Specific policy question

    How fast is the share of renewable energy from hydro increasing in Europe?

    Specific policy question

    How fast is the share of renewable energy from wind increasing in Europe?

    Specific policy question

    How fast is the share of renewable energy from solar increasing in Europe?

    Specific policy question

    How fast is the share of renewable energy from geothermal increasing in Europe?

    Methodology

    Methodology for indicator calculation

    Methodology and frequency of data collection

    Data collected annually.
    Eurostat definitions and concepts for energy statistics http://circa.europa.eu/irc/dsis/coded/info/data/coded/en/Theme9.htm

    Methodology of data manipulation

    Renewable energy consumption is the ratio between the gross inland energy consumption from renewable sources and the total gross inland energy consumption calculated for a calendar year.
    The coding (used in the Eurostat New Cronos database) and specific components of the indicator are:

    • Numerator: solar energy 5530 gross inland energy consumption 100900 + biomass and waste 5540 gross inland consumption 100900 + geothermal energy 5550 energy  inland consumption 100900 + hydropower 5510 gross inland energy consumption 100900 + wind energy 5520 gross inland energy consumption 100900.
    • Denominator: (total) gross energy inland consumption 100900

    Average annual rate of growth calculated using: [(last year/base year) ^ (1/number of years) –1]*100

    Solar-thermal: 100900 Gross inland energy consumption (5530 solar energy) – 100100 Primary production (5534 Photovoltaic power)

    IEA data:
    Report ‘Energy balances Non-OECD countries’ and ‘Energy balances OECD countries’, table ‘Energy balances (ktoe)’, products ‘Hydro’, ‘Geothermal’, ‘Solar/Wind/Other’, ‘Combustible renewables and waste’ and ‘Total’, flow ‘Total Primary Energy Supply’.

    Projections:
    POLES IPTS 2009: Gross inland energy consumption Other (EJ)/Gross inland consumption Total (EJ)
    WEO 2009: Primary energy demand Biomass and waste (Mtoe)/Total primary energy demand (Mtoe)

    • Primary energy demand Hydro (Mtoe)/Total primary energy demand (Mtoe)
    • Primary energy demand Other renewables (Mtoe)/Total primary energy demand (Mtoe)

    PRIMES 2009: Primary energy demand Biomass and waste (Mtoe)/Total primary energy demand (Mtoe)

    • Primary energy demand Hydro (Mtoe)/Total primary energy demand (Mtoe)
    • Primary energy demand Wind (Mtoe)/Total primary energy demand (Mtoe)
    • Primary energy demand Other renewables  [solar & others, geothermal ] (Mtoe)/Total primary energy demand (Mtoe)

    Geographical coverage
    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 Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. No energy data available for Iceland in 2007-2009 (Iceland do not appear in the graphs or tables).
    Data for World, United States, China, India, Russia, the Middle East and Africa

    Temporal coverage
    1990-2009, projections 2020-2030

    Data source

    Methodology for gap filling

    No gap filling necessary.

    Methodology references

    Data specifications

    EEA data references

    • No datasets have been specified here.

    External data references

    Data sources in latest figures

    Uncertainties

    Methodology uncertainty

    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 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 2010 target for the share of renewable energy does not necessarily imply that CO2 emissions from energy consumption will fall.

    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_sm1.htm See also information related to the Energy Statistics Regulation http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/file.jsp?id=5431232

    Rationale uncertainty

     

    Further work

    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.

    Work description

    No work foreseen by Eurostat. The EEA has currently no plans to undertake an immediate revision of the indicator. However, the work in the medium term would be based on the need to reduce the inherent uncertainties from using/interpreting the indicator as currently defined (see the uncertainty sections).

    Resource needs

    No resource needs have been specified

    Status

    Not started

    Deadline

    2099/01/01 00:00:00 GMT+1

    General metadata

    Responsibility and ownership

    EEA Contact Info

    Mihai Florin Tomescu

    Ownership

    European Environment Agency (EEA)

    Identification

    Indicator code
    CSI 030
    ENER 029
    Specification
    Version id: 1
    Primary theme: Energy Energy

    Permalinks

    Permalink to this version
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    Permalink to latest version
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    Frequency of updates

    Updates are scheduled every 1 year in October-December (Q4)

    Classification

    DPSIR: Response
    Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)

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    Data references used

    Latest figures and vizualizations

    Relevant policy documents

    Strongly related indicators

    Geographical coverage

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