Renewable primary energy consumption (CSI 030/ENER 029) - Assessment published Apr 2006
Energy (Primary topic)
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
- CSI 030
- ENER 029
Key policy question: How fast is the share of renewable energy in total gross energy inland consumption is increasing in Europe?
The share of renewable energies in total energy consumption increased over the period 1990-2003, but still remains at a low level. Significant further growth will be needed to meet the EU indicative target of a 12 % share by 2010.
Contribution of renewable energy sources to total energy consumption, EU-25
Note: (1990 - 2003)
The contribution of renewable energy sources to total energy consumption increased between 1990 and 2003 to reach 6.0 %, up by 0.3 percentage points from the share in 2002. This is still substantially short of the indicative target set in the White Paper on renewable energy (COM(97) 599 final) to derive 12 % of EU total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2010 (at present, the 12% aim applies only to the pre-2004 EU-15 Member States). In absolute terms, renewable energy consumption grew by 52.2 % between 1990 and 2003, compared to a 10.9 % increase in total energy consumption.
Between 1990 and 2003, the fastest-growing renewable energy source was wind with an average increase of 36 % per year, followed by solar. The increase in the use of wind to produce electricity was accounted for mainly by strong growth in Denmark, Germany and Spain, encouraged by support policies for the development of wind power. However, as wind and solar energy started from a very low level, they accounted for only 3.7 % and 0.6 % of total renewable energy consumption in 2003. Geothermal contributed 5.1 % of total renewable energy in 2003. The main sources of renewable energy were biomass and waste, and hydropower, accounting for 66.5 % and 24.1 % of total renewables, respectively. Hydropower production was relatively low in 2002 and 2003, due to little rainfall.
A number of environmental concerns and a lack of suitable sites in many Member States mean that large-scale hydropower is unlikely to contribute to significant future increases in renewable energy in the EU-25. Growth will therefore need to come from other sources such as wind, biomass, solar and small-scale hydropower. Currently, growth in biomass use is lagging behind in particular. The European Commission thus issued a Biomass Action Plan that aims at increasing the use of biomass (COM(2005) 628). However, expanding the use of biomass for energy purposes needs to take account of conflicting land-use for agricultural and forestry areas, and in particular nature conservation requirements (EEA, 2005).
Energy statistics (Eurostat)
provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
Total primary energy supply by product: (IEA)
provided by International Energy Agency (IEA)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoMihai Florin Tomescu
EEA Management Plan2010 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
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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