Renewable energy use, 1990-2017

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The share of renewable energy in total energy consumption increased from 6.0 percent in 2016 to 6.6 percent in 2017. 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 2017 the use of renewable heat, electricity and biofuels increased further. Approximately half of total consumption of renewable energy (140 petajoules (PJ)) was used to generate heat.

Renewable heat

Consumption of renewable heat increased by 11 percent in 2017 to almost 67 PJ. Waste incineration plants and wood-burning stoves in households are important sources of renewable heat. However, the biggest increase in heat generation can be found in biomass boilers in electricity companies that produced less electricity and more heat and the entry of several large installations in the statistics (+ 3,5 PJ).

More consumption of renewable electricity

Consumption of renewable electricity grew by 11 percent in 2017. Mainly because of a considerable increase of wind energy (+ 4.8 PJ) and solar energy (+ 2.0 PJ). However, use of biomass to generate electricity declined 5 percent compared to 2016.

Increase in consumption of biofuels for transport

Consumption of biofuels for transport increased approximately 30 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. This increase ends the trend of decline and is partly a result of 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, rules for biofuels become more strict. In recent years, the obligation has been met by using biofuels that meet high environmental standards. These 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, 2018) 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 (2018).


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, 1990-2017 (indicator 0385, version 34,

) 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.