The European Commission’s harmonized SHARES database provides valuable information on energy production and consumption in the EU. In this note, we focus on the share of renewable energy sources in energy consumption.
Data on the share of renewables show that significant progress has been made over the last decade to achieve the European Green Deal targets. The number of member states with a share of renewables in gross final energy consumption of less than 10% went from seven in 2010 to zero in 2020. In fact, in all but five Member States the share of renewables in 2020 was over 15% (the five countries with the lowest share being Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Malta and Luxembourg). In three of these (the Netherlands, Malta and Luxembourg), the share of renewables increased between 2010 and 2020 by around 10 percentage points. In four others, the improvement was even more spectacular: +14 percentage points in Sweden, almost +12 points in Finland, Latvia and Greece. At the top of the European rankings in 2020 were Sweden (60%), Finland (44%), and Latvia (42%).
Progress towards the Green Deal targets was faster in the second half of the 2010s than in the first. Indeed, the average share of renewables in the EU went from 14.4% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2015, and rose further to 22.1% in 2020. Something similar happened to 17 out of the 27 Member States. In the Netherlands, the share of renewables increased by over 8 percentage points between 2015 and 2020.
In Greece, the relevant share more than doubled, from 10.1% in 2010 to 21.7% in 2020, clearing the target set jointly with the European Commission (18%). Greece was in the middle of the renewables league table in the EU, being 14th out of 27 member states in 2020.
Other data from the same SHARES database show that wind energy was the largest source of renewable energy, contributing 47% of total energy production from all renewables in Greece in 2020 (in the EU the share of wind energy in all renewables was 36%). The second largest renewable source was hydroelectric power (28% in Greece, 33% in the EU), followed by solar energy (23% of all renewables in Greece, 14% in the EU as a whole). In Greece, the production of biofuels (derived from biomass) was almost unheard of (0.1%), but in the EU they contributed 8% of total renewable energy production. The contribution of other renewables was below 2% in Greece (8% in the EU).
The Russian aggression in Ukraine has brought into sharp relief the urgency of strengthening energy autonomy in Greece and in the EU, as the shift to renewables is key to lessening our dependence on imported fossil fuels. Addressing climate change makes the need for such a shift ever more pressing.
Despite Greece’sremarkable performance and recent progress in the production and consumption of energy from renewable sources, the scope for improvement remains very considerable indeed. Geography offers Greece a huge competitive advantage in terms of prospects for wind and solar energy. This advantage should be fully exploited.