State of Renewable Energies in Europe

February 15, 2012 | 00:00

State of Renewable Energies in Europe

The annual bilingual (French-English) EurObserv’ER report ‘The State of Renewable Energies in Europe’ has been released, in which not only background information is provided on the renewable energy realisations and the renewable energy share, but additionally estimates have been presented for renewable energy related employment and turnover in the EU Member States.

In a press release in December 2011 EurObserv’ER already announced the estimates for the renewable energy shares for the European Union (EU) Member States (MS) for the year 2010. This newly published report provides all underlying information.

In 2010 the overall EU-27 renewable energy share accounts for 12.4% of overall gross final energy consumption, as against 11.5% in 2009, which amounts to a 0.9-point year-on-year increase compared to 2009.

The 2009-2010 growth of the renewable energy share of overall gross final energy consumption is related to a bigger gross consumption of final energy from renewable sources: 145 Mtoe (against 131.6 Mtoe in 2009) for a gross final energy consumption of 1170.7 Mtoe (against 1146.3 Mtoe in 2009). From 2009 to 2010, gross consumption of final energy from renewable sources increased by 10.2% (+ 13.4 Mtoe), as against to a 2.1% increase (+ 24.4 Mtoe) of the overall gross final energy consumption.

Contributions to the renewable energy growth can be found in the increase in final consumption of solid biomass for heating due to a long winter, but also the increase of renewable electricity technologies (hydropower, electricity from biomass, wind power and solar power (mainly photovoltaics)). The shares are reported for the aggregate EU-27, but also for all individual Member States (see pages 106 -107).

EurObserv’ER has calculated that the European Union already is ahead of the energy trajectory mapped out in the NREAPs (145 Mtoe compared to the 136.8 Mtoe projected for 2010 by all Member States together). EU members should produce an extra hundred Mtoe of final energy from renewable sources to achieve the 2020 target of 20% of renewable energies in the EU-27 final energy gross consumption (2009/28/CE directive). It equates to an extra annual average of 10 Mtoe of final energy from renewable sources.

The interactive database on the homepage allows you to download the Barometer data separately. This will allow you to create your own graphs to be used in your publication.

Socio-economic indicators

Two main indicators shed light on the socioeconomic impact of the renewable sectors across Europe: employment figures and sales turnover, both for 2009 and 2010. All 27 European Union countries are covered individually, detailing nine renewable sectors.

2010 estimates for all 27 European Union Member States, with a breakdown per technology can be found at the end of the section:
- Employment figures (pages 174 – 175)
- Sales turnover (pages 176 – 177)


The renewable energy sectors, taking all 27 European Union Member States together, have more than 1114000 people employed. This is a 25% increase on the 2009 figure (of 912220). The top employer is solid biomass with more than 273000 jobs, followed by photovoltaic and wind power with respectively 268110 and 253145 jobs estimated for 2010. Business in the photovoltaic sector surged in 2010, which led to a 50% increase in job numbers and in countries as such Germany, France and Italy job numbers expanded by 70% and more.


The economic activity of the 27 European Union Member States for 2010 stemming from renewable energies is valued at more than 127 billion euro – a 15% improvement on the 2009 figure of 120 billion euros. Excellent performance by the photovoltaic sector, with sales of 45564 million euro in Europe’s markets, has taken it past wind power as the top earner. Photovoltaic is followed by the wind power and solid biomass sectors.

Important: both for the energy indicators as well as the socio-economic indicators relevant notions have been put forward in methodological notes. For the energy indicators the methodological note is displayed on pages 10, 11, 110 and 111, for the socio-economic indicators methodological note is displayed on pages 114 to 117.

Regional case studies

A separate report section focuses on seven regions in the EU that have succeeded in attracting more investments in renewable energies than the national average. As time passes, regions become more mature in terms of RES development, and the different maturity phases are characterised by a different set of policy tools. The four successive phases distinguished are:
· Phase 1 : Pre-investment
· Phase 2 : Investment
· Phase 3 : Market-maturity
· Phase 4 : 100% Renewables

The following seven case studies have been analysed in ‘The State of Renewable Energies in
· Spain, Andalusia (page 182): concentrated solar power
· Germany, Lower Saxony (page 188): biogas
· Denmark, Bornholm (page 194): smart grids
· France, Champagne-Ardenne (page 202): biofuels
· Austria, Upper Austria (page 210): solar thermal
· Poland, Pomerania (page 216): wind energy
· Hungary, Miskolc region (page 222): RES community

For the full report, click here.

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