Renewable energy in gross inland energy consumption (CSI 030/ENER 029) - Assessment DRAFT created Jan 2013
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Energy (Primary topic)
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
- CSI 030
- ENER 029
Key policy question: What is the contribution of renewable energy in gross inland energy consumption?
The share of renewable energy sources in gross inland energy consumption (GIEC) increased in the EU-27 from 4.2% in 1990 to 9.8% in 2010. The main contributor was biomass and wastes (6.7% of the GIEC in 2010), followed by hydro (1.8%) and wind (0.7%). The gross inland energy consumption from renewable increased at an annual average rate of 4.6%/year over the period 1990-2010 and accelerated (8.2%/year) from 2005 to 2010 (+12.7% in 2010). In 2010, the share of renewable energy in total gross inland energy consumption in EU-15 was 9.9%, which means that the 12% target of renewable by 2010 has not been reached.
In non EU EEA countries the share of renewable in gross inland energy consumption reached 19.8% in 2010. The gross inland energy consumption from renewable increased at an annual average growth rate of 1.4%/year. In these countries, there is also an acceleration in renewable energy consumption since 2005 (by 2.8%/year on average), but the total gross inland consumption continues to grow much faster (3.8%/year).
Contribution of renewable energy sources to primary energy consumption in the EU-27
Note: Contribution of renewable energy sources to primary energy consumption in the EU-27
- Energy statistics (Eurostat) provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Renewable energy in GIEC
- The contribution of renewable energy sources to gross inland energy consumption (GIEC) increased in the EU-27 from 4.2 % in 1990 to 9.8 % in 2010. The total consumption of renewable energy sources increased at an annual average growth rate of 4.6%/year. Between 2005 and 2010, the progression was almost twice faster (8.2%/year on average), while the gross inland energy consumption has been decreasing by 0.7%/year (see ENER 26).
- The main contributor was biomass and wastes (68.7% of the renewable energy consumption in 2010), followed by hydro (18.3%), wind (7.4%), geothermal (3.4%) and solar (2.1%). Between 1990 and 2010 the total renewable energy consumption more than doubled in the EU-27 (+144% corresponding to an average growth rate of 4.6 %/year). Wind and solar PV showed very high annual growth rates between 1990 and 2010 of 30% and 46% respectively, followed by solar thermal with 13.6%.
- In the EU-27, in 2010, around 50% of the biomass and wastes was consumed in 4 countries: Germany (22%), France (12%), Sweden (10%) and Finland 7%) with wood and wood wastes accounting for the bulk of this consumption (see Figure 2).
- In EU-27 as a whole, hydro consumption increased by 20% over the period 2005-2010 at an average annual growth rate of 3.7 %, of which 11.6% for the year 2010 (see Figures 1 and 3). However, the share of hydropower in renewable energy sources has decreased substantially since 1990 as a result of changing rainfall patterns. Energy consumption from hydropower is not expected to increase significantly in the future due to environmental concerns and a lack of suitable sites. For example, the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) places a strong emphasis on achieving a good environmental status of European rivers, hence future construction of new hydro-power plants (particularly small-scale hydro) will need to take these constraints into account. In 2010, hydropower was mainly produced in 4 countries in the EU-27: Sweden (18%), France (17%), Italy (14%) and Spain (12%).
- In EU-27 wind represented 7.4% of renewable energy consumption and 0.7% of GIEC in 2010 (see Figures 1 and 3). Between 2005 and 2010, wind energy grew by 112% in the EU-27, at an annual growth rate of 16.2% (12% in 2010). This development was largely due to strong growth in Spain and Germany, which together accounted for 55 % of all the EU-27 wind production in 2010 (respectively 29.6% and 25.4%).
- In EU-27 solar energy (both PV and solar thermal) accounted for 2.1 % of total renewable energy consumption and only 0.2 % of GEIC in 2010 (see Figures 1 and 3). Between 2005 and 2010, renewable energy from solar increased by a factor 4.5 in the EU-27 at an average annual growth rate of 36 %. Almost 70% of the solar consumption in 2010 came from two countries, Germany with 39% and Spain with 28%; these countries are followed by Italy (8%), Greece and Austria (5%). Solar PV is having the fastest progression among all renewable energy sources over all periods (see Figure 3). Recently however, Spain and Germany introduced significant adjustments downwards of the feed-in-tariff for these technologies. In 2010, Spain had the largest photovoltaic power station in the world (60 MWp Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park), which was completed in 2008. Germany is on the top of installed capacity with 24,875 MW in 2011 (almost 50% of the whole EU-27 capacity) and also for installed capacity per capita with 304 W. Italy has the second PV capacity in 2011 (12 764 MW, a factor 4 compared to 2010), followed by Spain (4214 MW) and France (2831 MW). In terms of power production, the share of countries is quite similar: Germany represents 52% of total EU production from PV (1 Mtoe or 11.7 TWh); it is followed by Spain with 29% (0.55 Mtoe or 6.4 TWh) and Italy with 9%.
- Between 2005 and 2010, the consumption of geothermal energy (both electricity and heat) increased by 10 % in the EU-27, at an average annual growth of 1.9 %. The use of geothermal schemes depends on the quality (temperature and density) of the heat available. Geothermal energy only contributed to 3.4 % of total renewable energy consumption and 0.3 % of GEIC in the EU-27 in 2010, with Italy accounting for around 81% of the total amount of geothermal energy (see Figures 1 and 3).
- The fastest progression in the share of renewables in total gross inland energy consumption since 2005 was mainly observed in countries such as Portugal (+9.8%), Spain and Denmark (+5.8% each), Austria (+5.6%) and Lithuania (+5.5%) (Figure 4).
- Between 1990 and 2010, the non-EU EEA countries showed an increase of 31% in total renewable energy consumption (annual average growth rate of 1.4%/year). Given the rapid progression of the total gross inland energy consumption in these countries (+71%), mainly driven by Turkey, the share of renewable energy in GIEC decreased from 25.7% in 1990 to 19.8 % in 2010. In 2010 around 53% of the renewable energy consumption is hydropower, followed by biomass and waste, which account for approximately 23% of the renewable energy consumption followed by geothermal with 22%.
 Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey
Energy data (IEA)
provided by International Energy Agency (IEA)
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
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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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