Renewable energy use, 1990-2015

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The share of renewable energy in total energy consumption increased from 5.5% in 2014 to 5.8% in 2015. According to the EU Renewable Energy Directive, the Dutch share for 2020 is set at 14%.

More renewable heat and electricity used

Renewable energy is used in the form of heat, electricity and biofuels for transport. In 2015 the use of renewable heat and electricity increased further. The use of biofuels decreased marginally. Approximately half of total consumption of renewable energy of more than 119 petajoules (PJ) in 2015 was used to generate heat.

More heat generated in waste incineration plants

Consumption of renewable heat increased by 10 percent in 2015 to 59 PJ. Waste incineration plants and wood-burning stoves in households are important sources of renewable heat. These two sources together contributed to more than half of the increase in 2015.

More consumption of renewable electricity

Consumption of renewable electricity grew by 12 percent in 2015. Mainly because of a considerable increase of wind energy (+ 4 PJ) and solar energy (+ 1,2 PJ). Use of biomass to generate electricity was comparable to 2014.

Consumption of biofuels for transport

The consumption of biofuels for transport diminished approximately 12% in 2015 compared to 2014. The 2015 decrease is a result of changes in legislation what caused suppliers of fuels to count also biofuels which are still unsure to be introduced to the market. Statistics Netherlands counts only biofuels really delivered to the Dutch market.
There is a legal obligation for petrol and diesel suppliers to ensure that part of the energy they supply comes from renewable energy sources, often biofuels for transport. Each year, the rules become stricter. In recent years, the obligation has been met by using biofuels which comply with high environmental standards. Such biofuels count double towards the EU target.

Policy objective

The 2009 EU directive Renewable Energy stipulates that in 2020 14 percent of gross final energy consumption must be generated from renewable energy sources. The directive is the result of a collective decision by the governments of the EU member states and the European Parliament. In the coalition agreement, the current government had set the target at 16 percent in 2020 (VVD and PvdA, 2012). In the national Energy agreement, the 16 percent target was postponed to 2023 (SER, 2013).

Avoiding the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions

An important aspect of the application of renewable energy sources is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. The link below provides a time series from the StatLine database (CBS, 2016) regarding the "reduction of fossil fuels" and the "reduction of CO2 emissions" as a result of the use of renewable energy sources and a breakdown by renewable energy source/technology. These data are in line with the 2010 policy objective.

European data

Data on the share of renewable energy in other European countries can accessed at Eurostat (2016a) and EurObserv'ER (2016).


Technical explanation

Naam van het gegeven
Verantwoordelijk instituut
Geografische verdeling

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Reference of this webpage

CBS, PBL, RIVM, WUR (2024). Renewable energy use, 1990-2015 (indicator 0385, version 32,

) Statistics Netherlands (CBS), The Hague; PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague; RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven; and Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen.