Primary production

The primary production of renewable energy within the EU-28 in 2014 was 196 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) — a 25.4 % share of total primary energy production from all sources. The quantity of renewable energy produced within the EU-28 increased overall by 73.1 % between 2004 and 2014, equivalent to an average increase of 5.6 % per year.

Among renewable energies, the most important source in the EU-28 was solid biofuels and renewable waste, accounting for just under two thirds (63.1 %) of primary renewables production in 2014 (see Table 1). Hydropower was the second most important contributor to the renewable energy mix (16.5 % of the total), followed by wind energy (11.1 %). Although their levels of production remained relatively low, there was a particularly rapid expansion in the output of wind and solar energy, the latter accounting for a 6.1 % share of the EU-28’s renewable energy produced in 2014, while geothermal energy accounted for 3.2 % of the total. There are currently very low levels of tide, wave and ocean energy production, with these technologies principally found in France and the United Kingdom.

The largest producer of renewable energy within the EU-28 in 2014 was Germany, with an 18.4 % share of the total; Italy (12.1 %) and France (10.7 %) were the only other EU Member States to record double-digit shares, followed by Spain (9.2 %) and Sweden (8.5 %). 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 four fifths of the renewable energy produced in Malta (80.3 %) and around two thirds of that produced in Cyprus (66.7 %) was from solar energy. By contrast, close to or more than a third of the renewable energy in the relatively mountainous countries of Sweden, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia was from hydropower. Hydropower also accounted for more than a third of the renewable energy production in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, and Montengro, rising to a share of almost two thirds Albania, while peaking at 90.1 % of the renewables energy total in Norway. More than one fifth (22.1 %) of the renewable energy production in Italy was from geothermal energy sources (where active volcanic processes exist); their share that rose to 78.7 % in Iceland. The share of wind power was particularly high in Ireland (51.8 %) and also accounted for close to or more than one quarter of renewable energy production in Spain, the United Kingdom and Denmark.

The output of renewable energy in Malta grew at an average rate of 41.3 % per year between 2004 and 2014, although the absolute level of output remained by far the lowest in the EU-28. Over this same period, annual increases averaging in excess of 10.0 % were recorded for Belgium (14.2 % per annum), the United Kingdom (12.7 %) and Ireland (11.7 %), while increases below 3.0 % were recorded in France, Romania, Latvia, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia and Finland.