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Renewable energy statistics

From Statistics Explained

Data from September 2012. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article provides recent statistics on renewable energy sources in the European Union (EU). Renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydroelectric power, tidal power, geothermal energy and biomass.

The use of renewable energy has many potential benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the diversification of energy supplies and a reduced dependency on fossil fuel markets (in particular, oil and gas). The growth of renewable energy sources may also have the potential to stimulate employment in the EU, through the creation of jobs in new ‘green’ technologies.

Table 1: Primary production of renewable energy, 2000 and 2010 - Source: Eurostat (ten00081) and (ten00082)
Table 2: Share of renewables in gross inland energy consumption, 2010
(%) - Source: Eurostat (nrg_100a), (nrg_1071a) and (nrg_1072a)
Figure 1: Share of renewables in gross final energy consumption, 2010 and 2020
(%) - Source: Eurostat (t2020_31)
Figure 2: Proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources, 2010
(% of gross electricity consumption) - Source: Eurostat (tsien050)
Figure 3: Electricity generated from renewable energy sources, EU-27, 2000-2010 - Source: Eurostat (nrg_105a) and (tsdcc330)
Figure 4: Share of renewable energy in fuel consumption of transport, 2010
(%) - Source: Eurostat (tsdcc340)

Main statistical findings

Primary production

The primary production of renewable energy within the EU-27 in 2010 was 166.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) — a 20.1 % share of total primary energy production from all sources. The quantity of renewable energy produced within the EU-27 increased overall by 72.4 % between 2000 and 2010, equivalent to an average increase of 5.6 % per year.

Among renewable energies, the most important source in the EU-27 was biomass and waste, accounting for just over two thirds (67.6 %) of primary renewables production in 2010 (see Table 1). Hydropower was the other main contributor to the renewable energy mix (18.9 % of the total). Although its level of production remains relatively low, there was a particularly rapid expansion in the output of wind energy, which accounted for 7.7 % of the EU-27’s renewable energy produced in 2010.

The largest producer of renewable energy within the EU-27 in 2010 was Germany, with a 19.6 % share of the total; France (12.5 %) and Sweden (10.4 %) were the only other Member States to record double-digit shares, although Italy’s share (9.8 %) was only just below this level. There were considerable differences in the renewable energy mix across the Member States, which reflect to a large degree natural endowments and climatic conditions. For example, more than three quarters (79.2 %) of the renewable energy produced in Cyprus was from solar energy, while more than a third of the renewable energy in the relatively mountainous countries of Austria and Slovenia was from hydropower (much higher shares were recorded in Norway, Switzerland, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). Close to one third (29.2 %) of the renewable energy production in Italy was from geothermal energy sources (where active volcanic processes still exist). The share of wind power was particularly high in Ireland (39.0 %) and also accounted for more than one fifth of renewable energy production in Spain (25.9 %) and Denmark (21.5 %).

The output of renewable energy in Germany grew at an average rate of 13.7 % per annum between 2000 and 2010, as such its share of the EU-27 total rose by 10.2 percentage points from a 9.4 % share in 2000 to 19.6 % by 2010. The rapid expansion of primary production of renewable energy in Germany meant that it moved from being the fourth largest producer in the EU in 2000 to become, by far, the leading producer by 2010. Renewable energy production in Belgium, Slovakia and Ireland also grew at an average rate that was in excess of 10 % per annum between 2000 and 2010.

Consumption

Renewable energy sources accounted for an 8.7 % share of the EU-27’s gross inland energy consumption in 2010 (see Table 2). Over one third of the energy consumed in Latvia (34.5 %) was derived from renewables in 2010, while the relative importance of renewables was also high in Sweden (30.8 %), Austria (25.6 %), Finland (21.7 %) and Portugal (19.7 %).

The EU seeks to have a 20 % share of its final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020; this target is broken down between the Member States with national action plans designed to plot a pathway for the development of renewable energies in each Member State. Figure 1 shows the latest data available for the share of renewable energies in gross final energy consumption and the indicative targets that have been set for each country for 2020. The share of renewables in gross final energy consumption stood at 12.5 % in the EU-27 in 2010.

Among the Member States, the highest share of renewables in gross final energy consumption in 2010 was recorded in Sweden (47.9 %), while Latvia, Finland and Austria each reported that more than 30 % of their final energy consumption was derived from renewables. Compared with the most recent data available for 2010, the indicative targets for the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands and France require each of these Member States to increase their share of renewables in final energy consumption by at least 10 percentage points. By contrast, Romania, Estonia and Sweden were already, in 2010, very close to their indicative targets for 2020.

Electricity

The latest information available for 2010 (see Figure 2) shows that electricity generated from renewable energy sources contributed almost one fifth (19.9 %) of the EU-27’s gross electricity consumption. In Austria (61.4 %), Sweden (54.5 %) and Portugal (50.0 %); at least half of all the electricity consumed was generated from renewable energy sources, largely as a result of hydropower and biomass.

The growth in electricity generated from renewable energy sources during the period 2000 to 2010 (see Figure 3) largely reflects an expansion in two renewable energy sources; namely, wind turbines and biomass. Although hydropower remained the single largest source for renewable electricity generation in the EU-27 in 2010 (58.4 % of the total), the amount of electricity generated in this way in 2010 was relatively similar to that a decade earlier, rising by just 4.5 % overall. By contrast, the quantity of electricity generated from biomass more than trebled, while that from wind turbines increased almost seven-fold. The relative shares of wind turbines and biomass in the total quantity of electricity generated from renewable energy sources rose to 21.8 % and 18.9 % respectively in 2010.

Transport

At the end of 2008, the EU agreed to set a target for each Member State, such that renewable energy sources (including biofuels, hydrogen or ‘green’ electricity) should account for at least 10 % of all fuel used within the transport sector by 2020. The average share of renewable energy sources across the EU-27 was 4.7 % in 2010, ranging from highs of 7.8 % in Slovakia and 7.7 % in Sweden to 1 % or less in Bulgaria, Denmark, Malta and Estonia (see Figure 4).

Data sources and availability

The statistics presented in this article are calculated on the basis of energy statistics covered by Regulation (EC) 1099/2008 on energy statistics.

The share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption is identified as a key indicator for measuring progress under the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This indicator may be considered as an estimate for the purpose of monitoring Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources – however, the statistical system for some renewable energy technologies is not yet fully developed to meet the requirements of this Directive; for example, the treatment of energy from heat pumps (and the energy used to drive the pumps). Furthermore, the Directive requires hydro and wind energy to be normalised to smooth the effects of climatic variation; given the 15-year normalisation requirement for hydro production and the availability of energy statistics (for the EU-27, starting from 1990), long time series for this indicator are not available. As such, the statistics presented for hydro and wind energy in this article have not been normalised.

Electricity from renewable energy sources is defined as the ratio between electricity produced from renewable energy sources and gross national electricity consumption. Electricity produced from renewable energy sources comprises electricity generation from hydropower plants (excluding pumping), as well as electricity generated from biomass/wastes, wind, solar and geothermal installations.

The share of renewable energies in the fuel consumed by the transport sector is calculated on the basis of energy statistics, according to the methodology as described in Directive 2009/28/EC; the contribution of all biofuels is currently included within the calculation for this indicator and the data are not restricted to biofuels satisfying the sustainability criteria.

Context

The EU has set out plans for a new energy strategy based on a more secure, sustainable and low-carbon economy. Aside from combating climate change through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the use of renewable energy sources is likely to result in more secure energy supplies, greater diversity in energy supply, less air pollution, as well as the possibility for job creation in environmental and renewable energy sectors.

The integrated energy and climate change strategy adopted in December 2008 provided a further stimulus for increasing the use of renewable energy sources to 20 % of total energy consumption by 2020, while calling for energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to both be cut by 20 %. Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources set an overall goal across the EU-27 for a 20 % share of energy consumption to be derived from renewable sources by 2020, while renewables should also account for a 10 % share of the fuel used in the transport sector by the same date. The Directive changes the legal framework for promoting renewable electricity, requires national action plans to show how renewable energies will be developed in each Member State, creates cooperation mechanisms, and establishes sustainability criteria for biofuels (following concerns over their potential adverse effects on crop prices, food supply, forest protection, biodiversity, water and soil resources).

On 6 June 2012, the European Commission presented a Communication titled, ‘Renewable energy: a major player in the European energy market’ (COM(2012) 271 final), outlining options for a renewable energy policy for the period beyond 2020. The Communication also called for a more coordinated European approach in the establishment and reform of support schemes and an increased use of renewable energy trading among Member States.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Main indicators - Energy Statistics (t_nrg_indic)
Electricity generated from renewable sources (tsien050)
Energy Statistics - quantities (t_nrg_quant)
Total production of primary energy (ten00076)
Primary production of renewable energy (ten00081)
Renewable energy primary production: biomass, hydro, geothermal, wind and solar energy (ten00082)
Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption (tsdcc110)
Gross inland consumption of primary energy (ten00086)
Gross inland energy consumption, by fuel (tsdcc320)
Total gross electricity generation (ten00087)
Electricity generation by origin: hydroelectricity (ten00092)
Electricity generation by origin: wind (ten00093)
Energy dependency (tsdcc310)
Combined heat and power generation (tsien030)
Share of renewable energy in fuel consumption of transport (tsdcc340)
Share of biofuels in fuel consumption of transport (tsdcc340)

Database

Main indicators - Energy Statistics (nrg_indic)
Energy Statistics - Structural Indicators in energy - annual data (nrg_ind_33a)
Electricity generated from renewable sources (nrg_ind_333a)
Energy Statistics - quantities (nrg_quant)
Energy Statistics - supply, transformation, consumption (nrg_10)
Supply, transformation, consumption - renewables and wastes (total, solar heat, biomass, geothermal, wastes) - annual data (nrg_1071a)
Supply, transformation, consumption - renewables (hydro, wind, photovoltaic) - annual data (nrg_1072a)
Supply, transformation, consumption - renewables (biofuels) - annual data (nrg_1073a)
Energy Statistics - infrastructure (nrg_11)
Infrastructure - renewables - annual data (nrg_114a)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

External links


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