We are Cambridge Energy Data Lab, a smart energy startup based in Cambridge, UK.
This blog, named "Cambridge Energy Data Analysis", aims to incrementally unveil our big data analysis and technologies to the world. We are a group of young geeks: computer scientists, data scientists, and serial entrepreneurs, having a passion for smart energy and sustainable world.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Renewable energy in Europe: how far are we from the targets?

In 2009, the European Union set mandatory targets for renewable energy use that every member state has to reach by the year 2020. In this post we will analyse the progress of each member state using the latest estimates released by Eurostat.

Shares of renewable energy in 2012

In the figure below we have the shares of gross final renewable energy consumption for each member state and how far the states are from their target: Here we note that Sweden, Estonia and Bulgaria already reached their targets while Malta Luxembourg and the UK have the lowest shares of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption. Also, Norway is the country with the highest share of renewable energy. Netherland, France and the UK are the countries furthest from their targets.

Increase since 2006

In the following chart we compare the increase of shares from 2006 to 2012 of each country: From this chart we note that all the member states increased their share of renewable energy since 2006. Another interesting fact we note here is that the three states with the highest increases are, in order, Malta, the UK and Belgium, which are also some of the countries furthest from the achievement of their targets.

Evolution of the shares from 2004 to 2012

In this figure we compare the trend of the shares of renewable energy among the biggest European countries excluding the Scandinavian ones: We can observe that Italy and the UK had the fastest growth of renewable energy shares, but while the UK share has never been comparable to the ones of the other countries, Italy was able to overtake France and Germany in 2011. We can also see that the German share had the slowest growth and that Spain is the country with the highest share since 2009.


  1. These graphs actually point out how deceptive they are because it doesn't take into account how many European countries have started burning wood pellets - technically considered to be a renewable energy source (i.e. biofuel) - even though it is not only polluting but certainly not on the par with either wind or solar energy generation, at least in terms of carbon emissions.

    1. Hi, the graphs are based on the latest data released by Eurostat and the values are estimated according to the current European directives. For sure, these estimations are not easy to make but they're the most reliable at the moment. If you are interested in the consumption of biofuel in Europe, you can refer to the statistics released by the European Biomass associations (

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