Renewable energy use, 1990-2018

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The share of renewable energy in total energy consumption increased from 6.6 percent in 2017 to 7.4 percent in 2018. 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 2018 the use of renewable heat, electricity and biofuels increased by 12 percent (to 157 PJ) compared to 2017. Approximately 45 percent of total consumption of renewable energy was used to generate heat, 42 percent for electricity and 14 percent was used as biofuel for transport.

Renewable heat

Consumption of renewable heat increased by 5 percent in 2018 to almost 71 PJ. Waste incineration plants and wood-burning stoves in households are important sources of renewable heat. Just like in 2017 the biggest increase in heat generation can be found at combined heat and power (CHP) installations of enterprises. On the other hand waste incineration plants produced less heat in 2018 because they increased the production of electricity.

More consumption of renewable electricity

Consumption of renewable electricity grew by 9 percent in 2018, mainly because of a considerable increase solar energy (+ 3.6 PJ). Wind energy increased by 4% in 2018.

Increase in consumption of biofuels for transport

Consumption of biofuels for transport showed a strong increase of 69 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. An important cause is a more strict legislation on Energy for Transport, in which the blending obligation is regulated. It also has to do with a higher mandatory share of renewable energy in transport fuel that has to be met by the suppliers.

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, 2019a) 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 (2018) and EurObserv'ER (2019).


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, 1990-2018 (indicator 0385, version 35,

) 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.