Wind Turbines in Tromsø during Arctic Ship Tour

Nordic countries: good at thrillers, gender equality and having also a high share of renewables.

Norway, Finland and Sweden – along with Latvia – had the highest share of renewables in their gross energy consumption mix in 2012, according to new Eurostat data. Norway’s share is 64.5%, and Sweden’s is 51%, making them streets ahead of other countries that trail behind them.

The data takes into account a broad spectrum of renewables including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass, hydro (including marine) – which could be why the Nordic countries head up the table as they are big on hydro and geothermal, with a heavy reliance on biomass in Sweden and Finland.

Country % share of renewables
Norway 64.5
Sweden 51.0
Latvia 35.8
Finland 34.3
Austria 32.1

The UK is third from the bottom, only faring better than Luxembourg and Malta. And its share isn’t growing fast.

Country % share of renewables
Cyprus 6.8
Netherlands 4.5
Luxembourg 3.1
Malta 1.4

The middle of the league table looks interesting too, with Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries such as Romania, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria scoring a higher renewables share than Italy, Germany and France (see the full table here).

In fact, if you look at the data from 2004 you realise that these groups of countries have all increased their renewables share in the range of about 4-7 percentage points to 2012, but that the CEE countries started with a higher share.

For instance, Germany’s had a big renewables push with the Energiewende from 2005-2008, but it started from a position in 2004 that included a much smaller share of renewables than Romania, which has also had a big renewables push in recent years (17% in Romania vs. 8% in Germany in 2004).

When you look at the map you can see more detail about their percentage share by clicking on the country.

Greece, Latvia, Sweden, France and Denmark are the ‘most improved’ countries, which have the biggest percentage point increases from 2011-2012.

Country change in percentage share
Greece 3.3
Latvia 2.3
Sweden 2.2
France 2.1
Denmark 2.0

The UK is 7th from the bottom, while Norway was the only country that managed to reduce its renewable energy share as a proportion of energy consumption between 2011-2012.

In 2012, the outlook was positive that member states would hit their 2020 renewables targets, with Sweden and Estonia, and Bulgaria already meeting theirs. On the whole, EU countries’ renewable share increased from 13% to 14.1% in 2011-2012, making the EU fewer than 6 percentage points off the 20% by 2020 renewables share target.