Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-125-en
Also known as: CSI 048 , ENER 028
Created 14 Nov 2017 Published 14 Dec 2017 Last modified 05 Sep 2018
25 min read
Topics: ,
The EU-wide share of renewable energy in gross final EU energy use has increased from 16.1 % in 2014 to 16.7 % in 2015 and to an expected 16.9 % in 2016, according to the  EEA’s early estimates . This gradual increase occurred in spite of an uptick in energy consumption from all sources observed in 2015 and 2016 across the EU. Steady renewable energy source (RES) growth indicates that the EU remains on track to reach its 20 % RES share target for 2020, but the pace of RES growth is slowing.  Renewable energy accounted for 18.6 % of gross final energy consumption for heating and cooling, 28.8 % of final electricity consumption and 6.7 % of transport fuel consumption in 2015. In 2015, all but three EU Member States (France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) met or exceeded their indicative targets set under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), and 20 Member States (all except France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Portugal) reached or exceeded the indicative trajectories set in their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs).  Eleven countries ( Bulgaria , Croatia, the Czech Republic,  Denmark,  Estonia, Finland,  Hungary, Italy,  Lithuania, Romania  and Sweden ) managed already in 2015 to achieve their binding renewable energy share targets for 2020, as set under the RED.

Key messages

  • The EU-wide share of renewable energy in gross final EU energy use has increased from 16.1 % in 2014 to 16.7 % in 2015 and to an expected 16.9 % in 2016, according to the EEA’s early estimates. This gradual increase occurred in spite of an uptick in energy consumption from all sources observed in 2015 and 2016 across the EU.
  • Steady renewable energy source (RES) growth indicates that the EU remains on track to reach its 20 % RES share target for 2020, but the pace of RES growth is slowing. 
  • Renewable energy accounted for 18.6 % of gross final energy consumption for heating and cooling, 28.8 % of final electricity consumption and 6.7 % of transport fuel consumption in 2015.
  • In 2015, all but three EU Member States (France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) met or exceeded their indicative targets set under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), and 20 Member States (all except France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Portugal) reached or exceeded the indicative trajectories set in their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs). Eleven countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden) managed already in 2015 to achieve their binding renewable energy share targets for 2020, as set under the RED.

What is the progress towards the EU’s 20 % renewable energy consumption target for 2020?

Progress of renewable energy sources

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Progress of renewable energy sources by country

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Progress at the EU level

The EU is currently on track to meet its renewable energy target for 2020. The EU-wide share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption [1] increased from 16.1 % in 2014 to 16.7 % in 2015 and to an expected 16.9 % in 2016 according to the EEA’s early estimates. Steady RES progress indicates that the EU has met its indicative trajectory for 2015-2016, as set out in the RED, and the expected trajectory path for both years resulting from the NREAPs adopted by countries (see Figure 1). However, the average yearly growth of the RES share since 2005 slowed in 2015 (to 6.4 %) and in 2016 (to 5.9 %), compared with the average annual pace of growth recorded between 2005 and 2014 (6.7 %). Gross final energy consumption decreased, on average, by 0.9 % per year between 2005 and 2015 (including by 1.4 % per year from 2010 to 2015).

In 2015, the share of renewable energy in transport (RES-T)[2] reached 6.7 % in the EU-28, having increased from a very low level in 2005 (1.8 %). In accordance with the the Renewable Energy Directive, by 2020, renewable energy consumed across the EU-28 in transport must reach a share of 10 %. Biofuels consumed in transport may only be counted towards renewable energy targets if Member States have shown compliance with Article 17 of that Directive. However, not all countries have been able to show compliance for all biofuels from 2011 onwards, in which case these biofuels have not been included in the figures for those years.

Progress at the country level

RES shares continue to vary widely between countries, ranging from over 30 % of gross final energy consumption in 2015, in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Sweden, to below 9 % in Belgium, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (see Figure 2).

In 2015, 25 Member States (all except France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) met or exceeded their indicative targets set under the RED, while 20 Member States (all except France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain) reached or exceeded the indicative trajectories set in their NREAPs. In 2015, eleven countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden) managed to reach their binding renewable energy share targets for 2020, as set under the RED.

Between 2005 and 2015, the largest increases in the share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption were observed in Denmark (+14.9 percentage points), Sweden (+13.3 percentage points), Estonia (+11.1 percentage points), Finland (+10.5 percentage points) and Hungary (+10.0 percentage points).

The share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption [3] across non-EU EEA countries amounted to 70.8 % in Norway in 2015 (linked to the high share of hydropower), 68.9 % in Iceland in 2015 (linked to the high shares of geothermal energy and hydropower), 13.6 % in Turkey in 2015 and 22 % in Switzerland (2010 data).

In 2015, all countries in Europe had renewable energy policies and support schemes for renewables in place. In accordance with the reporting requirements set out in the Renewable Energy Directive, every two years the European Commission publishes a Renewable Energy Progress Report based on national Progress Reports submitted by countries. The Commission’s Progress Report of 2017 assesses Member States' progress in the promotion and use of renewable energy towards their intermediate trajectories and 2020 renewable energy targets. Various forms of support scheme are used within Member States, such as feed-in tariffs, feed-in premiums, auction/tender systems or quota obligations [4]. The Renewable Energy Directive provides three types of cooperation mechanism that allow Member States to achieve their national 2020 renewable energy targets. Until now, these cooperation mechanisms have hardly been used; Sweden and Norway are the only two countries to have reported a joint undertaking in 2014, while in July 2016, Denmark and Germany signed a cooperation agreement on the mutual opening of auctions for solar-PV installations — an agreement with a view to opening up support schemes to cross-border participation. To contribute to a more harmonised approach in supporting renewables across the EU, in 2014 the European Commission published Guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy for the period until 2020.

 

[1] In the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), gross final energy consumption is defined 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. 

[2] The share of renewable energy in transport is defined in Article 3 of the Renewable Energy Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.

[3] Normalised consumption for these countries was calculated according to the requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive.

[4] More information is available on the European Commission website in the RES Progress reports and the RES-Legal database, and in the database of the World Energy Council on policies and measures.

Has the consumption of renewable electricity, heating and cooling, and transport increased in EEA countries?

Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption

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