Do something for our planet, print this page only if needed. Even a small action can make an enormous difference when millions of people do it!
For the public:
Ask your question
The EEA Web CMS works best with following browsers:
Internet Explorer is not recommended for the CMS area.
If you have forgotten your password,
we can send you a new one.
Skip to content. |
Skip to navigation
The efficiency of electricity and heat production from conventional thermal power plants in EU-27countries improved between 1990 and 2010 by 5.8 percentage points (from 45.4% in 1990 to 51.2% in 2010). The non EU EEA countries (exl. Norway  ) show a similar trend with an improvement of 5.6 percentage points (from 45.2% in 1990 to 50.8% in 2010). Between 2005 and 2010, there was a decline in efficiency of electricity and heat production from conventional thermal power plants of 1.1 percentage points (from 52.3% in 2005 to 51.2% in 2010) in the EU-27 because of lower heat production similar to non-EU EEA countries where efficiency declined by 1.3% over the same period.
 Norway, displays efficiencies higher than 100% for thermal generation due to the extensive use of electric boilers for heat production. In the Eurostat statistics, the heat is included in the output, while the electricity input is not. For power plants the consumption of electricity is attributed to the energy sector while partly may be in fact used as input for heat. For these reasons, Norway was excluded from the calculations.
Since 1990, EU-27 F-gas emissions have experienced significant growth, more than offsetting an intermittent decrease between 1997 and 2001. While PFCs and SF 6 emissions have been reduced to a significant degree, a major rise is observed for HFCs emissions which have tripled since 1990.
In addition to domestic EU production and sales of F-gases, significant amounts of F-gases are also imported and exported. Imports generally increased over the period 2007–2011, while EU production has stabilised at levels that are around 20 % lower than those reported in 2007. When expressed in metric tonnes, data for the reporting year 2011 show a decrease in production (-5 %), import (-6 %) and intra-EU sales (-12 %) of F-gases compared to the previous year.
Context: Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) covered by the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol comprise hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF 6 ). These F-gases typically have very long lifetimes in the atmosphere and high global warming potentials (GWPs). The gases are mostly produced for use in products and equipment in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, foams, fire protection etc. Emissions take place mainly due to leakage during the use phase or due to failure to fully recover the F-gases at the end of the product/equipment lifetime. Future F-gas emissions are thus largely determined by (i) present day consumption of F-gases and (ii) measures to prevent leakage and encourage recovery..
Trends in household spending patterns from 1995 to 2010 are mixed but have shown some tendency towards an increasing share of consumption categories with lower environmental pressure intensities. Almost all consumption categories have also seen reductions in environmental pressure intensities. Together these two developments are likely to have had the effect of relatively decoupling environmental pressures from growth in household consumption expenditure.
The number of organisations registered under the EMAS standard rose by 50% during the period 2003-2010, while organisations from EU countries certified according to the international ISO 14001 standard more than quadrupled in the period 2001-2009. This indicates that private companies and public institutions in the EU are increasingly engaging in environmental management.
In 2010, the highest concentrations of oxidized nitrogen were found in the Baltic Sea, in the Gulf of Riga and Kiel Bay, and in Belgian, Dutch and German coastal waters in the Greater North Sea. Reported stations in the Northern Spanish and Croatian coastal waters also showed high concentration levels. The highest orthophosphate concentrations were found in the Baltic Sea, in the Gulf of Riga and Kiel Bay, and in Irish, Belgian, Dutch and German coastal waters in the Greater North Sea. Coastal stations along Northern Spain and Southern France also showed high concentration levels.
Between 1985 and 2010, overall nutrient concentrations have been either stable or decreasing in stations reported to the EEA in the Greater North Sea, Celtic Seas and in the Baltic Sea. However, this decrease has been more pronounced for nitrogen. Assessments for the overall Mediterranean and Black Sea regions were not possible, data only being available for stations in France and Croatia.
For oxidized nitrogen concentrations, 14% of all the reported stations showed decreasing trends, whereas only 2% showed increasing trends. Decreases were most evident in the Baltic Sea (coastal waters of Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and open waters) and in southern part of the coast of the Greater North Sea. Increasing trends were mainly found in Croatian coastal stations.
For orthophosphate concentrations, 10% of all the reported stations showed a decrease. This was most evident in coastal and open water stations in the Greater North Sea, and in coastal stations in the Baltic Sea. Increasing orthophosphate trends, observed in 6% of the reported stations, were mainly detected in Irish, Danish and Finnish coastal waters (Gulf of Finland and Gulf of Bothnia) and in open waters of the Baltic Proper.
In 2010, the highest summer chlorophyll-a concentrations were observed in coastal areas and estuaries where nutrient concentrations are also generally high (see CSI 021 Nutrients in transitional, coastal and marine waters). These include the Gulf of Riga, Gulf of Gdansk, Gulf of Finland and along the German coast in the Baltic Sea, coastal areas in Belgium and The Netherlands in the Greater North Sea and in few locations along the coast of Ireland and France in the Celtic Seas and Bay of Biscay, respectively. High chlorophyll concentrations were also observed along the Gulf of Lions and in Montenegro coastal waters in the Mediterranean Sea, and along Romanian coastal waters in the Black Sea. Low summer chlorophyll concentrations were mainly observed in the Kattegat and open sea stations in the Greater North Sea, and in open sea stations in southern Baltic Sea.
Between 1985 to 2010, decreasing chlorophyll concentrations (showed in 8% of all the stations in the European seas reported to the EEA) were predominantly found along the southern coast of the Greater North Sea, along the Finnish coast in the Bothnian Bay in the Baltic Sea and in a few stations in the Western Mediterranean Sea and Adriatic Sea. In the Black Sea, it was not possible to make an overall assessment due to the lack of time series data. Increasing concentrations (observed in 5% of the reported stations) were generally observed in coastal locations in the Northern Baltic Sea but also in the open sea stations outside the north of the Celtic Seas. Most stations (87%) however showed no changes over time.
The concentrations were generally Low or Moderate for HCB and lindane, Moderate for cadmium, mercury and lead, and Moderate or High for PCB and DDT. A general downward trend was found in the Northeast Atlantic for lead, lindane, PCB and DDT and also in the Baltic Sea and Mediterranean Sea for lindane. A general upward trend was found in the Mediterranean Sea for mercury and lead.
The EU27 is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and it accounts for 76.4 % of primary energy consumption whereas renewables accounted only for 9.8 %. The share of fossil fuels (coal, lignite, oil and natural gas) in gross inland consumption of the EU-27 declined slightly from 83.1 % in 1990 to 76.4 % in 2010.
The EU’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels (gas, solid fuels and oil)  from non-EU countries has remained relatively stable between 2005 and 2010. In 2010 EU-27 imported 53.8 % of its total gross inland energy consumption. Oil imports are the highest and accounted for 58.6 % of total GIEC, followed by gas then solid fuels which accounted for 28.8 % and 12.6 % of total GIEC.
In 2010 only 71.5 % of the total primary energy consumption in the EU-27 reached the end users. Between 1990 and 2010, energy losses in transformation and distribution have slowly declined from 29.2 % to 28.5 %.
The average energy efficiency of conventional thermal electricity and heat production of conventional thermal power stations and district heating plants in the EU-27 improved over the period 1990 and 2010 by 5.1 percentage points to reach 51.2% in 2010. The main increase was seen between 1990 and 2005 with an increase of 7.0 percentage points (from 45.4% in 1990 to 52.3% in 2005). The improvement until 2005 was due to the closure of old inefficient plants, improvements in existing technologies, often combined with a switch from coal power plants to more efficient combined cycle gas-turbines. Between 2005 and 2010, there was a slight fall in efficiency of electricity and heat production from conventional thermal power plants and district heating plants of 1.1 percentage points (from 52.3% in 2005 to 51.2% in 2010) because of lower heat production.
Overview of the energy system in 2010
In 2010 only 71.5 % of the total primary energy consumption in the EU-27 reached end users. Distribution, energy-sector’s own consumption of energy and conversion losses represented 28.5 % of which 5 % resulted from energy consumption by the energy sector.
The EU27 is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels (see ENER 26), and it accounts for 76.4 % of primary energy consumption whereas renewables accounted only for 9.8 %. It is interesting to see that over 65 % total petroleum products in the EU27 after transformation in refineries are those refined in the EU27 originating from indigenous production and imported crude oil, rather than imported petroleum products. Subsequently 340 Mtoe of these petroleum products are exported outside the EU27.
A high proportion of the fossil fuels used in the EU27 in 2010 were imported from outside the EU. Net import accounted for 91 %, 62 % and 39 % of gross inland consumptions of oil, gas and solid fuels.
The high dependency on oil arises as a result of high consumption in the transport sector which is still very dependent on petrol and diesel. Increasing concerns for climate change leading to policies shifting fuel use in the transport sector has led to electricity (15.1 Mtoe) and renewables (13.3 Mtoe) consumption in transport, but these are yet to make a significant contribution (see ENER 16). The other sector where oil is the most dominant fuel is in the non-energy use sector where oil is used for example as lubricants. On the other hand, oil only accounts for a small proportion of the transformation input into power stations  (ENER 38).
Nuclear heat accounts for 44.2 % of transformational input into power stations (excluding CHPs and district heating), followed by coal (24.9 %), natural gas (15.4 %) then renewables (13.5 %). In power stations, during the transformation of the energy into electricity, 58 % of fuel input is lost as conversion losses. Conversion losses are declining in the EU27 as power station efficiencies and electricity generation from renewables increases (see ENER 19 and 38). As for wind, hydro and solar PV, electricity is the primary energy form of energy so there are no associated conversion losses. The overall % of energy lost to conversion losses from electricity generation can also decrease if the % of electricity generated from CHPs increases. In 2010, conversion losses from CHPs were much less than power stations (33 %), just over 20 % of transformation output of electricity was from CHPs.
In terms of consumption, industries consumed the highest amount of electricity, but only slightly more than domestic and other final consumers (which includes services sector) (ENER 16). Following conversion losses in transformation plants, further losses of electricity occur from distribution and consumption in the energy industry which accounts for (41.2 Mtoe or 14.5 % of electricity available for consumption). In 2010, net import of electricity was minimal (0.3 Mtoe).
Conversion efficiencies of CHPs are higher than in power stations because the heat produced is also consumed as useful energy. In the EU27, heat is also generated from district heating plants in certain countries and the overall heat consumed from CHPs and district heating plants in 2010 was 62.8 Mtoe. Gas accounts for the highest proportion of fuel going into district heating plants (46 %).
The largest consumer of gas in 2010 was the domestic sector (119.0 Mtoe) followed by industries (84.7 Mtoe) (see ENER 16) whereas for coal, the largest consumers are electricity generation plants (power stations and CHPs). Coal and gas are also input fuels for other transformation plants which produce manufactured fuels.
 Definitions are provided in the meta data. The Gross Inland Energy Consumption does not include bunkers.
 See ‘Methodology and assumptions used for the Sankey diagram’ for definitions of components that make up power stations.
Over the period 1990-2010, energy efficiency increased by 20% in EU-27 countries at an annual average rate of 1.1%/year, driven by improvements in the industrial sector (1.7%/year) and households (1.6%/year).
The share of renewable energy in final energy consumption in the EU-27 reached 12.5% in 2010 representing 60% of the Europe 2020 target (20%). Renewable energies represented in 2010, 14.3% of total final heat consumption, 19.6% of electricity consumption and 4.7% of transport fuels consumption.
Fossil fuels and nuclear energy continue to dominate the gross power generation mix in EU-27, with a respective share of 51% and 27.4% in 2010. The share of electricity generated from renewable sources is in rapid progression and reached 20.9% in 2010 (12.5% in 1990).
Final electricity consumption increased by 32% in the EU-27 since 1990 at an average annual growth of around 1.4% per year. In the EU-27, the strongest growth was observed in the services sector (3.3%/year), followed by households (1.7%/year) and industry (0.2/year). In non-EU EEA countries, the growth in electricity consumption was much more rapid and reached 3.1%/year, driven by the rapid growth in Turkey.
Estimates based on the share of vehicles complying with the various legislation classes suggest that despite the strict emission limits imposed for new vehicles in Europe, a considerable fraction of the vehicle fleet is still of conventional (pre-Euro) technology.
The period of time needed for a new technology to penetrate the vehicle fleet in the EEA is quicker for diesel than for petrol cars.
The proportion of trucks, buses and coaches that comply with the latest and most stringent emission standards is lower than for cars, because of their longer lifetimes. On the other hand, the penetration of new technology is highest for two-wheelers.
Based on the activity level of the latest technologies, which is generally higher compared to the activity level of older vehicles, the emissions reductions achieved by the entire fleet are higher than the technology share may suggest.
Between 1990 and 2010, the final energy consumption in the EU-27 increased by 7.1% (10.2% in EEA countries) at an annual average rate of 0.3% (0.5% for EEA countries).The final energy consumption in EU-27 decreased by 3.2% between 2005 and 2010 (2.1% in EEA countries). The services sector was the sector with the fastest growing energy consumption (41.4% over the period 1990-2010 and 12.2% over the period 2005-2010). Final energy consumption in the transport sector in 2010 was 29.8% higher than 1990 levels but the sector registered a 0.5 % fall in energy consumption between 2009 and 2010 despite signs of mild economic recovery. Over the same period (1990-2010), household final energy consumption increased by 12.4% while final consumption in industry fell by 20.5%. Overall, in the last year, final energy consumption in EU-27 increased, but still remained below the level in 2006 (the year where energy consumption peaked in Europe). On average, one person in the EEA countries used 2.2 tonnes of oil equivalent to meet their energy needs in 2010.
Between 2009 and 2010, all air pollutant emissions from transport, except NOx, decreased (ranging between 2.5 % and 10 %). During the period 1990 to 2010, the main pollutants that contribute to acidification and particulate and ozone formation have shown a decreasing trend in emissions in the EEA‑32 (with fluctuations in some years). The largest percentage decreases over this period have been for CO (76 %) and non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC) (75 %). However, increases in shipping activity since 1990 have offset some of the reductions elsewhere, in particular for SOx, but also for NOx and PM. International shipping currently contributes to nearly 87 % of all transport SOx emissions. The rise of road freight transport explaines most of the increase in NOx in 2010.
Wastewater treatment in all parts of Europe has improved during the last 15-20 years. The percentage of the population connected to wastewater treatment in the Southern, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe has increased over the last ten years. Latest values of population connected to wastewater treatment in the Southern countries are comparable to the values of Central and Northern countries, whereas the values of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe are still relatively low compared to Central and Northern Europe.
Specific CO 2 emissions of road transport have decreased since 1995, mainly due to an improvement in the fuel efficiency of passenger car transport. Recent EU Regulation setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars is expected to further reduce CO 2 emissions from light-duty vehicles in view of the 130 g/km and 95 g/km emission targets set for 2015 and 2020 respectively.
Specific CO 2 emissions of air transport, although decreasing, are of the same order of magnitude as for road, while rail and maritime shipping remain the most energy efficient modes of passenger transport.
Specific energy efficiency of light and heavy duty trucks has improved, but road transport still consumes significantly more energy per t-km than rail or ship freight transport. CO 2 emissions from light commercial vehicles are also expected to decrease in view of the 175 g/km and 147 g/km emission targets set for 2017 and 2020 respectively.
Between 1990 and 2007, annual transport energy consumption in the EU-27 showed continual growth. However, this trend reversed in 2008 as the effects of the economic recession brought about three years of negative growth. Between 2007 and 2009, total energy demand in the transport sector declined by 4.2%. The most recent published data for 2010 indicates a bottoming out of this recent decline with a drop in energy demand between 2009 and 2010 of just 0.3%. Preliminary estimates for 2011 hint on a return to growth in transport energy demand with a minor increase of 0.1% over 2011.
Outside the EU‑27, over the last decade Switzerland's growth in road transport energy use has been below the EU‑27 average, while its rail energy use has increased compared to an average reduction across the EU‑27. By contrast, Norway and particularly Turkey have seen road transport energy use grow faster than the EU‑27 while Turkey's rail energy use has fallen substantially more than in EU‑27 Member States.
The shipping sector saw the greatest decline in energy consumption during the recession; bunkers dropped by 10 % in 2009 compared to 2007, reflecting weak consumer demand. However, this was also the first transport sector to see a return to growth; over 1% between 2009 and 2010. Combined energy use for aviation, rail and shipping has reduced by 5.2 % between 2007 and 2011. The greatest reduction was for domestic navigation (10.2 %), followed by aviation (5.7 %) and rail (5.3 %). Road transport represents the largest energy consumer, accounting for 72 % of total demand in 2011. It has also been the least affected by the economic downturn, falling by only 3.9 % between 2007 and 2011.
The global average concentrations of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached the highest levels ever recorded, and concentrations are increasing. The combustion of fossil fuels from human activities and land-use changes are largely responsible for this increase.
The concentration of all GHGs, including cooling aerosols that are relevant in the context of the 2 o C temperature target, reached a value of 403 ppm CO 2 equivalents in 2010, exceeding the 400 ppm for first time.
The concentration in 2010 of the six greenhouse gases (GHG) included in the Kyoto Protocol has reached 444 ppm CO 2 equivalent, an increase of 165 ppm (around +60 %) compared to pre-industrial levels.
The concentration of CO 2 , the most important greenhouse gas, reached a level of 389 ppm by 2010, and further increased to 391 ppm in 2011. This is an increase of approximately 112 ppm (around +40 %) compared to pre-industrial levels.
Over the period 1990-2010, the EU-27 final energy intensity has decreased by 25% at an annual average rate of 1.4%/year. Since 2005, the reduction was slightly higher (1.5%/year), with a stronger decoupling in the agriculture and industrial sectors where the energy intensity has decreased by 2.6%/year and 2.1%/year respectively. In the service and transport sectors the final energy consumption intensities have decreased by 1.3%/year and 0.9%/year since 2005. In the household sector, the final energy consumption per capita was in 2010 almost at the same level as in 2005, as result of counterbalancing effects: larger and more numerous dwellings, greater ownership of electrical appliances on the one hand and energy efficiency improvements on the other hand. Over the period 1990-2010, the final energy intensity in non-EU EEA countries has decreased by 8.5% at an annual average growth rate of 0.4%/year.
Total emissions of primary sub-10µm particulate matter (PM 10 ) have reduced by 26% across the EEA-32 region between 1990 and 2010, driven by a 28% reduction in emissions of the fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) fraction. Emissions of particulates between 2.5 and 10 µm have reduced by 21% over the same period; the difference of this trend to that of PM 2.5 is due to significantly increased emissions in the 2.5 to 10 µm fraction from 'Road transport' and 'Agriculture' (of 50% and 15% respectively) since 1990.
Of this reduction in PM 10 emissions, 39% has taken place in the 'Energy Production and Distribution' sector due to factors including the fuel-switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation and improvements in the performance of pollution abatement equipment installed at industrial facilities.
It might be more efficient to use alternatives for transport rather than keeping a car only for weekend trips.
More green tips
EEA Web Team
Software updates history
Code for developers
Refresh this page