Renewable energy consumption for heating and cooling in the EU

Over one fifth of energy used for heating and cooling from renewable sources in the EU.

The EU had set a goal to have 20% of its energy consumption come from renewable sources by 2020 [1]. Renewable energy sources include wind power, solar power (thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated), hydro power, tidal power, geothermal energy, ambient heat captured by heat pumps, biofuels and energy generated from waste.


One of the objectives of the policy framework for renewables is increasing the uptake of renewables in three consumption sectors: gross electricity consumption, heating and cooling, and transport.


Recent figures published by Eurostat for the European Commission show that 21.1% of total energy use for heating and cooling in the EU came from renewable sources in 2018 [2]. This figure represents a significant improvement when compared with 2004 statistics, where renewable energy accounted for 11.7% of EU energy consumption.


The diagram below details for each EU country the share of renewable energy in energy consumption attributable to cooling and heating in 2018.



The table below shows the evolution of this ratio since 2004.



Renewable energy also includes derived heat [3] and heat energy (from air, ground or water) captured by heat pumps. In 2018, such heat energy accounted for 27% of the renewable energy used for heating and cooling [4].


EU as a whole appears to be on track to achieve its target for renewable energy since in 2018, renewable energy represented 18.9% of energy consumed in the EU. However, considering each country’s starting point and overall potential for renewables, progress vary between countries. As of 2018, twelve of the Member States had already surpassed their target for 2020, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.