Renewables represented only 7% of the energy used in the production and consumption of food across EU member states in 2013, which compares to 15% in the overall energy mix, according to the latest JRC Science and Policy report.
This relatively small share of renewables can be explained with the food industry’s high reliance on fossil fuels. Also, about one fifth of the food consumed in the EU is imported from non-EU regions with a renewables share of less than 15%, the study finds.
The report discusses the challenges associated with decreasing energy use and boosting the renewables share in the food sector, as well as the ways to do it. It mentions an increased use of renewables in agricultural production and says that on-farm biogas systems have provided 13.4 Mtoe (mega-tonne oil equivalent) of primary energy and 52.3 TWh of power in the EU in 2013.
According to projections by the National Renewable Energy Action Plan, biogas could represent 1.5% of the EU's primary energy supply and 5% of overall natural gas consumption by 2020.
In 2013 the amount of energy needed to cultivate, process, pack and deliver food to European citizens accounted for 17% of the EU’s gross energy consumption and some 26% of final energy consumption.