Renewable energy in Europe 2018 - recent growth and knock-on effects

Publication Created 14 Dec 2018 Published 18 Dec 2018
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This report introduces several methods the European Environment Agency (EEA) has developed for assessing and communicating early RES growth and the important knock-on effects that RES growth has on the energy sector and related areas. The report provides specific information at EU and country level on estimated RES progress in 2013, estimated gross avoided carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and avoided fossil fuel use due to the additional use of renewable energy since 2005, as well as an assessment of the statistical impacts of growing RES use on primary energy consumption.
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Publication Created 14 Dec 2018 Published 18 Dec 2018
EEA Report No 20/2018
This report introduces several methods the European Environment Agency (EEA) has developed for assessing and communicating early RES growth and the important knock-on effects that RES growth has on the energy sector and related areas. The report provides specific information at EU and country level on estimated RES progress in 2013, estimated gross avoided carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and avoided fossil fuel use due to the additional use of renewable energy since 2005, as well as an assessment of the statistical impacts of growing RES use on primary energy consumption.

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    Overview of electricity production and use in Europe Overview of electricity production and use in Europe In 2016,  low-carbon energy sources (i.e. renewables and nuclear energy) continued to dominate the electricity mix for the second year in a row, together generating more power than fossil fuel sources. Fossil fuels (i.e. coal, natural gas and oil) were responsible for 43 % of all gross electricity generation in 2016, a decrease of 11 percentage points across the EU compared with 2005 (54 %). By way of contrast, the share of electricity generated from renewable sources has grown rapidly since 2005, but the pace of growth has slowed down after 2014. In 2016, renewable electricity reached almost one third (29 %) of all gross electricity generation in the EU. This is twice as much as in 2005. As such, renewable sources generated more electricity in 2016 than nuclear sources or coal and lignite. Nuclear energy sources contributed roughly one quarter (26 %) of all gross electricity generation in 2016. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable fuels, together with improved transformation efficiencies in electricity generation, led to an average annual 2.6 % decrease in CO 2 emissions per kWh between 2005 and 2016. Final electricity consumption (the total consumption of electricity by all end-use sectors plus electricity imports and minus exports) in the EU increased by one percent in 2016 compared with 2015, reaching the same level as in 2005. The sharpest growth was observed in the services sector (1.2 % per year) and the sharpest decline in industry (-1.0 % per year). With regards to the non-EU EEA countries,  between 2005 and 2016, electricity generation increased by an average of 4.9 % per  year in Turkey, 7.1 % per year  in Iceland and 0.7 % per year in Norway.
    Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption The share of renewable energy in gross final energy use in the EU has almost doubled since 2005. It reached 17.0 % in 2016 and is expected to have reached 17.4 % in 2017, according to the early estimates from the European Environment Agency (EEA) . These levels are higher than those from the indicative EU trajectory for these years set by the Renewable Energy Directive .  The increase in the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption has slowed down in recent years. An increasing energy consumption and lack of progress in the transport sector imperil the achievement of both 2020 targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency at EU level. In 2017, according to the EEA's early estimates:  progress towards national targets deteriorated across the EU, with 20 Member States (all but Cyprus, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom) meeting or exceeding their indicative targets set under the Renewable Energy Directive, compared with 25 Member States on target in 2016. In addition, only 16 Member States (all except Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain) reached or exceeded the trajectories set in their own National Renewable Energy Action Plans, compared with 19 in 2016; 11 countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden) had already managed to achieve their binding renewable energy share targets for 2020, as set under the Renewable Energy Directive; renewable energy accounted for 30.6 % of gross final electricity consumption, 19.3 % of energy consumption for heating and cooling, and 7.2 % of transport fuel consumption in the whole EU.

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