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This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015.
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Net Extra-EU27 import dependence indicates net imports of fuel excluding that traded with other EU Member States.
The figure shows the trends in total energy intensity, gross domestic product and total energy consumption.
This article provides recent statistics on renewable energy sources in the European Union (EU). 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 in electricity generated from renewable energy sources during the period 2003 to 2013 (see Figure 3) largely reflects an expansion in three renewable energy sources, namely, wind turbines, solar power and biomass.
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 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.
The share of electricity from renewable energy sources is defined as the ratio between electricity produced from renewable energy sources and gross national electricity consumption.
The European Commission has set out several energy strategies for a more secure, sustainable and low-carbon economy. On 6 June 2012, the European Commission presented a Communication titled, ‘Renewable energy: a major player in the European energy market’ (COM(2012) 271), outlining options for a renewable energy policy for the period beyond 2020. One of the 10 priorities of the European Commission put forward in 2014 is an energy union. How rapidly are renewable energies being consumed in electricity, heat and transport sectors? What are the observed trends in renewable heat consumption in sectors (industry, households, services, etc)? Final Renewable Energy Consumption is the amount of renewable energy consumed in the member states with actual and normalised 15-year hydro power generation and 4-year wind and the share in the total final energy consumption. The indicator is developed for measuring the contribution to the 2020 objectives on renewable energy for the EU-27. Has there been a complete decoupling in Europe between economic growth and energy consumption? As I reported earlier this year, the European Union (EU) is expected to exceed its target of producing 20% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.


Another thing I found interesting was how much more the % of gross inland oil consumption (below) diverted from gross inland oil production (in graph at the top). Bulgaria is notorious for being the European country with the highest energy intensity* of the GDP. The European target by 2020 is to save 20% of the primary energy **, compared to the volumes, which would be required according to the present policy. What are the reasons for this U-turn, whether accidental factors are causing it or a new negative trend is emerging, the answer of this question is subject to complicated analyzes.
Eurostat’s data shows that in 2011 none of the other 26 EU countries had such a headlong rise of the energy consumption, compared to the economic growth, as that reported in Bulgaria, additionally for such a modest economic growth. Most of the EU member states achieved economic growth, together with an absolute decrease in energy consumption (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden, UK, EU).
In other member states energy growth is recorded, but it is slower than the growth achieved by the GDP (Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania).
Bulgaria is the only EU country where GDP growth is accompanied by faster energy consumption.
The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment. Renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydroelectric power, tidal power, geothermal energy, biomass and the renewable part of waste. 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. There were considerable differences in the renewable energy mix across the Member States, which reflect to a large degree natural endowments and climatic conditions. Figure 1 shows the latest data available for the share of renewable energies in gross final energy consumption and the targets that have been set for each country for 2020. Compared with the most recent data available for 2013, the targets for Ireland, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom require each of these Member States to increase their share of renewables in final energy consumption by at least 8.0 percentage points. A consolidated version of the legislation is available from the Energy dedicated section of Eurostat’s website.
The contribution of all biofuels is included within the calculation for this indicator until 2010. 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 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 EU Member States.
It is intended that a European energy union will ensure secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy.


The final renewable energy consumption is composed of renewable energy for heat, renewable energy for electricity and the use of biofuels in transport. Of course, we know that Europe and the US rely heavily on oil from foreign nations, but interesting to see stats related to that. It is rather modest, because it could move us maximum oftwo to threeplaces up in theEU ranking.
By contrast, Sweden, Bulgaria and Estonia had already surpassed their targets for 2020, while Lithuania had matched its target.
By contrast, the quantity of electricity generated from biomass (including renewable waste) more than trebled, while that from wind turbines increased more than fivefold between 2003 and 2013. Furthermore, the Directive requires hydropower and wind energy to be normalised to smooth the effects of variations due to weather; given the 15-year normalisation requirement for hydropower production and the availability of energy statistics (for the EU-28, starting from 1990), long time series for this indicator are not available.
The Directive changes the legal framework for promoting renewable electricity, requires national action plans to show how renewable energies will be developed in each EU 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).
In January 2014, the European Commission put forward a set of energy and climate goals for 2030 with the aim of encouraging private investment in infrastructure and low-carbon technologies. In February 2015, the European Commission set out its plans for a framework strategy for a resilient energy union with a forward-looking climate change policy in a Communication (COM(2015) 80). The new Directive on renewable energy sets an ambitious target for the EU-27 of 20% share of energy from renewable sources in final energy consumption by 2020 and a 10% share of renewable energy in the transport sector (in each Member State). The electricity production of hydro power is calculated both as actual production and normalised production over a 15-year weighted average (4-year weighted average for wind). The overall share of renewable energy in the final energy consumption[1] includes consumption of electricity and heat from renewable energy sources as well as biofuels consumption. As such, the statistics presented for hydropower and wind energy in this article have not been normalised.
A report on the sustainability of solid and gaseous biomass used for electricity, heating and cooling (SWD(2014) 259) was adopted in July 2014.
One of the key targets proposed is for the share of renewable energy to reach at least 27 % by 2030. The Communication proposes five dimensions for the strategy, one of which is decarbonising the economy. These objectives are seen as a step towards meeting the greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2050 put forward in the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 (COM (2011) 112).



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