Increase in Dutch wind and solar energy consumption in 2021

In 2021, wind energy consumption in the Netherlands increased by 36 percent and solar energy consumption by 28 percent year on year. Despite these increases, the renewable energy share was lower than in 2020. This is evident from provisional figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In 2021, wind energy consumption grew by 36 percent to 68 PJ relative to the previous year. This is equivalent to 3.4 percent of gross final energy consumption in the Netherlands.

Increased share of offshore wind energy consumption

Consumption of energy generated by offshore wind turbines in particular rose sharply because offshore wind farms were fully operational throughout the year. Offshore wind energy consumption increased by 71 percent year on year, amounting to 31 PJ (1.52% of total end consumption).

In the same period, onshore wind energy consumption rose by 17 percent to 38 PJ (1.88 percent of total final consumption). Total wind turbine capacity amounted to 7,700 MW at the end of 2021, 16 percent more than one year previously. This increase is entirely attributable to new onshore wind farms; the offshore wind turbine capacity did not rise.

Increase in number of solar panels

In 2021, solar energy consumption (for electricity and heat) rose by 28 percent to 42 PJ year on year. This covers 2.1 percent of total energy consumption in the Netherlands. The main reason for this increase is the use of new solar panels.

The installed capacity of solar panels for solar power rose from 11 thousand MW in 2020 to slightly more than 14,400 MW one year later, representing an increase of around 31 percent. This growth is less substantial than in 2020. Twenty percent of the installed solar panels are in solar parks and 80 percent are on roofs or as solar car parking shades.

Decrease in share of renewable energy

In 2021, the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption in the Netherlands was 12 percent. In 2020, the share was 14 percent. Compared to 2020, less biomass was counted towards the share of renewable energy and no renewable energy was purchased from abroad.

In 2021, a revised EU Renewable Energy Directive came into force. This directive has stricter sustainability criteria for biomass. It is still unclear how exactly these criteria should be applied. The total amount of biomass consumption that fully complies with the EU Directive was 107 petajoules (PJ), down from 120 PJ in 2020. This brought renewable energy consumption to 240 PJ last year, i.e. 12 percent of gross final energy consumption. When the part of biomass that is not fully compliant with the EU directive is included, the consumption of renewable energy comes out at 269 PJ. This is 13.4 percent of total energy consumption.

In 2020, 49 PJ of renewable energy was purchased from Denmark via a so-called statistical transfer. As a result, the Netherlands achieved the binding EU target of 14% renewable energy agreed for that year. No agreements have been made so far to realise such a transfer for 2021. This partly explains last year’s decline in the share of renewable energy. Source: CBS

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