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Indicator Assessment

Use of renewable energy for transport in Europe

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-28-en
  Also known as: CSI 037 , TERM 031
Published 08 Dec 2020 Last modified 22 Jul 2021
7 min read

The share of energy from renewable sources consumed in transport increased between 2005 and 2018 in the EU, from under 2 % to over 8 %. Latest EEA data indicate that in 2019 this increased further, to 8.4%, indicating continuing progress towards the target set in the Renewable Energy Directive, namely that, by 2020, 10 % of all energy used in transport should be from renewable sources. However, because several countries are far from meeting this target, reaching the 10 % goal by 2020 is unlikely, at both country and EU levels.

Shares of energy from renewable sources used in transport in Europe

Trend
Data sources:

The European Green Deal (EC, 2019) sets out a plan to make the EU climate neutral by 2050, to mitigate climate change and its damaging effects on the environment. The promotion of renewable energy use is key to this goal, as this is essential for reducing fossil fuel emissions.

To monitor progress, it is important to track changes in the share of renewable energy use in all sectors, including transport. Eurostat has monitored the trend since 2004. Until 2010, all biofuels used in transport were considered in the share of renewable energy sources. In 2009, the Renewable Energy Directive (RED; 2009/28/EC) set the target that 10 % of all energy used in transport should be from renewable sources by 2020 (EU, 2009). The RED also introduced sustainability criteria and since 2011 only biofuels that comply with these criteria count towards the share, explaining the dip in the renewable energy share between 2010 and 2011.

The latest Eurostat data indicate that 8 % of the total energy used in transport in the EU was from renewable sources in 2018, following a steady increase in this share since 2005, when it was just under 2 %. New EEA estimates for 2019 suggest there has been a further increase, to 8.4 %. Despite this progress, the overall trajectory indicates that the EU may fall short of the 2020 target of 10 %. In 2018, the RED was updated (2018/2001/EU) to strengthen the sustainability criteria for biofuels and set a new goal for 2030, increasing the target share of renewable energy used in transport to 14 % (EU, 2018).

Shares of energy from renewable sources used in transport in Europe

Ranking by country
Data sources:

Although the EU is close to meeting the 10 % target, and the share of energy from renewable sources used in transport has increased in all Member States, the extent of progress varies. The increase in share is mainly the result of an expansion in the use of biofuels. However, the timelines of transposition of the RED and the types of biofuel mandates implemented vary between countries, contributing to the differences.

Sweden, which has the highest share of energy from renewable sources in transport, has ambitious targets for the transport sector, and uses energy and carbon taxes to achieve these targets: a carbon tax on fuels has been in place since 1991, and exemptions and reductions apply for sustainable biofuels (Ministry of Infrastructure, 2020)

The electrification of road and rail transport has played a smaller role in the progress made. For instance, in the EEA member country Norway, the use of renewable electricity in road transport has increased substantially, although still constitutes less than 1 % of total energy used in transport. This is the result of policies that encourage electric mobility combined with the country’s essentially renewable electricity supply.

 

 

 

References

EC, 2019, The European Green Deal; Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (COM(2019) 640 final).

EU, 2009, Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (OJ L 140, 5.6.2009, p. 16-62).

EU, 2018, Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82-209).

Ministry of Infrastructure, 2020, Sweden’s Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan, Ministry of Infrastructure, Sweden.

Supporting information

Indicator definition

This indicator shows the percentage of energy consumed in the transport sector that comes from renewable energy sources. Values are tracked at the EU and country levels.

The indicator is based on Eurostat data and approximated values calculated by the EEA for the latest year.

Units

Final energy consumption of biofuels, petrol and diesel, and electricity for transport is measured in kilotonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). The share of energy from renewable sources used in transport is given as percentage.


 

Policy context and targets

Context description

The European Green Deal sets out the aim for a carbon neutral EU by 2050. This requires the decarbonisation of all sectors.

The transport sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, this sector has proven difficult to decarbonise. Increasing the share of renewable energy in the sector is a key means to reducing emissions and contributing to Europe’s goal of carbon neutrality.

The policy and targets for the energy sector as a whole, and specifically for the transport sector, were established in the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC (RED). It requires that all EU countries ensure that by 2020 at least 10% of the fuels in the transport sector come from renewable sources. The RED also established sustainability criteria for biofuels, which must be fulfilled to be considered in the target.

In 2018, the recast Renewable Energy Directive 2018/2001/EU (RED II) was adopted. It extends the legal framework to 2030, setting new targets and extending the requirements for the sustainability of bioenergy. The target set in RED II for the share of energy coming from renewable sources in transport is 14%.

Targets

No targets have been specified for this indicator

Related policy documents

  • Directive (EU) 2018/2001
    Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
  • 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.
  • DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC
    DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC
  • Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics
    Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on energy statistics (OJ 2008 L 304, p. 1).
  • The European Green Deal
    Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (COM(2019) 640 final).
 

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

The indicator uses information compiled by Eurostat (for historical trends), supplemented by the EEA’s own approximated estimates for the latest year. This is replaced by the Eurostat value when that becomes available.

The Eurostat data are based on information gained through annual energy statistics (as mandated by Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics), and additional data required for the calculation of the share of energy from renewable sources in transport (RES-T), based on the RED. The EEA approximate estimates for the share are calculated in accordance with the methodology under RED.

The ratio determining a Member State’s RES-T share is defined in the RED. Article 3(4) defines both the numerator and the denominator of the ratio:

The denominator is the total amount of energy consumed in transport and includes: ‘petrol, diesel, biofuels consumed in road and rail transport, and electricity, including electricity used for the production of renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels of non-biological origin’.

The numerator defines the ‘energy from renewable sources consumed in transport’. It is the total of compliant biofuels (liquid and gaseous), renewable electricity, hydrogen of renewable origin, synthetic fuels of renewable origin and other forms of renewable energy consumed in the transport sector.

Methodology for gap filling

No gap-filling is applied. 

Methodology references

  • SHARES Tool Manual Shares Tool Manual: Describes the Shares Tool that is designed to collect and present the information – the energy data – that is needed for the calculations as defined in Article 3 (transport sector) and Article 5 (overall target) of the Directive. 
 

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified.

Data sets uncertainty

The data are collected on an annual basis by the European Commission and can be considered reliable and accurate. The requirement for data collection for low- and zero-sulphur fuels and biofuels is mandatory, and the results are harmonised at the EU level.

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified.

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Response
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 037
  • TERM 031
Frequency of updates
Updates are scheduled once per year
EEA Contact Info info@eea.europa.eu

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