Renewable energy sources

Renewable Energy Sources, what is the performance in the European Union

Portugal is among the five countries in the European Union (EU) with the highest percentage of energy consumption coming from renewable energy sources. Renewable energies include wind energy, solar energy (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydropower, tidal energy, geothermal energy, ambient heat captured by heat pumps, biofuels and a renewable part of waste.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The situation in the European Union in 2020

According to data from Eurostat December 2023 regarding energy sources for final consumption in 2022, Portugal had a percentage of 34,7% in renewable energy sources. 

Portugal is behind Sweden (66,0%), Finland (47,9%), Latvia (43,3%), Denmark (41.6%) and Estonia (38.5%).

The EU average was 23% in 2022, around 1,1% higher than in 2021.

A Community Directive 2023/2413 revised the objective to be achieved in the use of renewable energy in the EU from 32% to 42,5%.

Target Renewable Energy EU
Target Renewable Energy EU

These six countries with the best results in the use of renewable energy are behind Norway which, although not part of the EU, nevertheless has a very high percentage of renewable energy use of 75.8%.

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On the contrary, Ireland (13.1%), Malta (13,4%) and Belgium (13,8%) have the lowest global rate of use of renewable sources in final energy consumption.

Portion of energy from renewable energy; Source: Eurostat
CountriesYear 2022
UE23.020
Sweden66.002
Finland47.886
latvia43.316
Denmark41.601
Estonia38.472
Portugal34.677
Austria33.758
lithuania29.599
Croatia29.354
Romania24.140
Slovenia22.937
Greece22.678
Spain22.116
Germany20.796
France20.259
Cyprus19.429
Bulgaria19.095
Italy19.006
Czechia18.195
Slovakia17.501
poland16.873
Hungary15.190
Netherlands14.972
Luxembourg14.356
Belgium13.759
Malta13.404
ireland13.107

The EU's goals and the performance of member states

In relation to the level of achievement of the objectives set in the EU Directive to be achieved in 2030 of 42,5%, of the 27 member states, 3 have already reached or significantly exceeded this target, Sweden (66,0%), Finland ( 47,9%) and Lithuania (43,3%).

Portugal with 34,7% is in 6th place in the ranking, a challenging objective to reach 42.5%, having to grow around 1% on average per year.

The evolution of the European Union and Portugal since 2004

The European Union aims to be the first continent with a neutral impact on the climate and, therefore, the net emissions of greenhouse gases should be zero in 2050, as determined by the Green Deal.

Renewable energy sources are strategic for achieving this goal. They reduce greenhouse gas emissions and diversify energy sources, reducing Europe's dependence on fossil fuels, oil and natural gas.

A good example is the use of green energy from the Oceans, such as wave and tidal energy.

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Sweden, which has already exceeded the 2030 objective, although starting from a higher value than Portugal and the EU, has been performing better than the Portuguese. A challenge that we face to improve the country's performance.

Status of renewable energy sources in electricity consumption

In 2022, according to Eurostat data, renewable sources in electricity consumption represent 41,2% in the EU

Portugal is once again well positioned, in 4th place, with a use of 61,0% of renewables in the electricity grid, already above the target defined for the EU.

The best performers are Sweden with 83,33%, Denmark with 77,2% and Austria with 74,7%.

Instead, Czechia with 15,5%, Hungary with 15,3% and Malta with 10,1% are at the bottom of the table.

Status of renewable energy sources in heating and cooling

In 2022, clean sources used for heating or cooling represent 24,8% in the EU

Portugal is positioned, in 7th position, with a usage of 45,5% and already above the aforementioned target.

Status of renewable energy sources in transport

The EU target for the share of renewable energy used in transport by 2030 is 29%.

This clean energy includes liquid biofuels, biobutanol, biodiesel and hydrogen, among others.

The EU achieved 9,6% in 2022.

Portugal, with a rate of 8,7%, is positioned in 14th place in the ranking.

The best positioned country is Sweden with 29%, followed by Finland with 2%, the Netherlands with 18,8% and Malta with 10,8%.

This is the most difficult component in helping to reach the EU's overall target of 42.5%.

Summary

The European Union's goal is to become the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. European Ecological Pact ((COM 2019) 640 final) this is a very ambitious package of measures that should allow European citizens and companies to benefit from a sustainable green transition.

The use of renewable energy has many potential benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the diversification of energy supplies and a reduction in dependence on fossil fuel markets (in particular, oil and gas).

The growth of renewable energy sources could also contribute to employment in the EU, by creating opportunities in new “green” technologies.

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