This indicator measures the EU’s progress towards achieving its 2020 and 2030 renewable energy targets. Gross final renewable energy consumption is the amount of renewable energy consumed for electricity, heating and cooling, and transport in the 27 EU Member States using actual and normalised hydropower and wind power generation, and is expressed as a share of gross final energy consumption.
The Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) defines gross final energy consumption as the 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 transmission and distribution.
Figure 1 shows consumption of energy from renewable sources (including only certified biofuels complying with the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) sustainability criteria) as a proportion of gross final energy consumption, the indicative 2020 target, the current2030 target and the updated 2030 target proposed in the “Fit for 55” package. It should be noted that the official 2020 targets refer to the EU-27 plus the United Kingdom and to individual Member States. The same target 20% target has been used for the EU-27 in this indicator.
Figure 2 shows the consumption of energy from renewable sources as a proportion of gross final energy consumption by country. It illustrates the progress made by the EU, its Member States and other EEA member countries with respect to their binding renewable energy targets for 2020.
Methodology for indicator calculation
The renewable energy share data used for 2005-2020 were taken directly from the Eurostat SHARES tool. The SHARES tool focuses on the harmonised calculation of the share of energy consumption from renewable sources among the 27 EU Member States. This is done in accordance with the RED guidelines and is based on national energy data reported to Eurostat. The Shares tool detailed results and manual are available online (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/energy/data/shares).
Electricity generation from hydropower and wind power must be normalised to smooth the effect of weather-related variations. In the case of hydropower, the normalisation is based on the ratio of electricity generation to the installed capacity averaged over 15 years; in the case of wind power, a similar normalisation formula is applied over 5 years. The Shares tool takes into account all biofuels consumed in transport between 2005 and 2010, and only biofuels certified as being in compliance with the RED sustainability criteria for the years starting from 2011.
With regard to the calculation of the gross final energy consumption for Cyprus and Malta, the derogation in RED was used. This derogation allows these countries to consider the amount of energy consumed in aviation, as a proportion of their gross final energy consumption, to be no more than 4.12%.
Values for 2021 are approximated and have been estimated by the EEA. More information can be found on the EEA proxies web page.
Official 2020 targets were set for the EU-27 plus the United Kingdom (before Brexit), and for individual Member States. The same 20 % target has been used for the EU-27. The current and proposed 2030 targets are also included. The linear trajectory displayed is a linear interpolation between 2021 values and the current 2030 target.
Methodology for gap filling
No gap filling was required for this indicator.
No methodology references available.
The RED (2009/28/EC) and its recast directive (2018/2001/EU) establish an overall policy for the production of energy from renewable sources and the promotion of its use in the EU. These directives committed the EU to the target of ensuring that 20% of its gross final energy consumption came from renewable energy sources by 2020 and that 10% of final energy consumption in transport came from renewable sources by the same year. The 20% target is one of three headline targets under the Europe 2020 strategy, the others being a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared with 1990, and a 20% decrease in primary energy consumption compared with projections by 2020. The targets for 2030 are a minimum 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 1990, a minimum 32% share of renewable energy consumption in gross final energy consumption and a minimum 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency.
Achieving the targets depended on the further fine tuning of existing policy frameworks, improved market conditions for grid access to renewable sources and the full implementation of a guarantee-of-origin system to allow further development of the renewable consumer market. In addition, better and more integrated planning will be required to ensure not only a high efficiency of investment and an accelerated pace of development, but also that the market penetration of these renewable sources takes place in a manner that minimises the environmental impact within and outside the EU-27.
The share of renewable energy consumption in final energy consumption is a broad indicator of progress towards reducing the impact of energy consumption on the environment (i.e. through decreased greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant emissions). However, significant impacts of increasing renewable energy consumption are felt on landscapes, habitats and ecosystems, namely from construction, the use of water, the use of fertilisers and pesticides for biomass and biofuel crops, and the extraction of heavy metals for photovoltaic cells; these impacts must also be considered.
Replacing fossil fuels with renewables results in lower carbon emissions. However, total carbon emissions are not necessarily determined by the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption, but by the total amount of energy consumed from fossil sources. Therefore, from an environmental point of view, attaining the renewable energy targets does not necessarily mean that CO2 emissions from energy consumption will fall (e.g. if the growth in energy consumption is supported by renewables but fossil fuel use remains stable, the renewable energy share will grow but carbon emissions will not decrease).
Data for 2015-2020 were compiled by Eurostat using annual joint questionnaires, which are 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 on Eurostat's web page on metadata on energy statistics.
Values for 2021 are approximate (proxies) and have been estimated by the EEA with the intention of providing early indications of recent shares. These proxies were not obtained following the formal collection process for official statistics and are therefore less accurate and reliable than official statistics. Estimates will be replaced with Eurostat official statistics once they become available.
Notes on uncertainties in the underlying statistics and methodology:
Biomass and bio-waste, 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 renewable, but current data availability does not allow the non-biodegradable content of wastes to be identified separately, except in industry.
The electricity produced from hydropower storage systems is not classified as a renewable source of energy in terms of electricity production, but is considered part of the gross electricity consumption of a country. Hydropower and wind power generation are calculated as actual generation and normalised generation. Normalised generation is calculated using the weighted average load factor over the last 15 years for hydropower and the last 5 years for wind power.
The indicator measures the consumption of energy from renewable sources relative to total energy consumption for a particular country. The share of renewable energy could increase even if actual energy consumption from renewable sources falls. Similarly, the share could fall despite an increase in energy consumption from renewable sources.
Electricity consumption within a national territory includes imports of electricity from neighbouring countries. It excludes electricity produced nationally but exported abroad. In some countries, the contribution of electricity trade to total electricity consumption and the changes observed from year to year need to be looked at carefully when analysing trends in electricity from RESs. Impacts on the (national) environment are also affected, since emissions are taken into account for the country in which the electricity is produced, whereas consumption is taken into account for the country in which the electricity is consumed.
Data sets uncertainty
No uncertainty has been specified.
No uncertainty has been specified.