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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Electricity production by fuel / Electricity production by fuel (ENER 027) - Assessment published Sep 2010

Electricity production by fuel (ENER 027) - Assessment published Sep 2010

This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Other (This indicator is no longer being regularly updated)
Topics: ,


This indicator is discontinued. No more assessments will be produced.

Generic metadata

Topics:

Energy Energy (Primary topic)

Tags:
electricity | fuels | energy
DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 027
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2007
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Turkey United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Is the electricity production becoming less carbon intensive in Europe?

Key messages

Fossil fuels and nuclear energy continue to dominate the fuel mix for electricity production in EU-27. In 2007, the share in total gross electricity production of the electricity generated from fossil fuels was 55.4 %, and of the electricity generated from nuclear was 27.9 %. By comparison, the electricity generated from renewable sources was 15.7% (in 2007). The total electricity production increased significantly by 35.0 % since 1990, thus offsetting some of the emissions reductions achieved due to fuel switching from solid fuels to natural gas.

Gross electricity production by fuel, EU-27

Note: Gross electricity production by fuel, EU-27 Data shown are for gross electricity production and include electricity production from both public plants and auto-producers. Renewables include electricity produced from hydro (excluding pumping), biomass, municipal waste, geothermal, wind and solar PV. The share of renewables presented in the chart is that for production and hence does not correspond to the share, for consumption, as required by Directive 2001/77/EC. The difference between both shares is accounted for by the net balance between imports and exports of electricity. The EU-27 value for 1990 includes (former) West Germany only and since 1991 it refers to Germany. ‘Other fuels’ include electricity produced from power plants not accounted for elsewhere, such as those fuelled by certain types of industrial wastes. It also includes the electricity generated as a result of pumping in hydro-power stations.

Data source:

Eurostat. Energy statistics: Supply, transformation, consumption - electricity  - annual data. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/data/database

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Share of electricity production by fuel type, 1990-2007 (%), EU-27

Note: Share of electricity production by fuel type, 1990-2007 (%), EU-27

Data source:

Eurostat. Energy statistics: Supply, transformation, consumption - electricity  - annual data. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/data/database

Downloads and more info

Share of electricity production by fuel type in 2007

Note: Share of electricity production by fuel type in 2007. The share of renewables above refers to production and therefore it does not necessarily match exactly the share. for consumption. as required by Directive 2001/77/EC. The difference between both shares is accounted for by the net balance between imports and exports of electricity. ‘Other fuels’ include electricity produced from power plants not accounted for elsewhere. such as those fuelled by certain types of industrial wastes. It also includes the electricity generated as a result of pumping in hydro-power stations. For Iceland no data for 2007 were available from Eurostat, the 2006 data were used as an estimate.

Data source:

Eurostat. Energy statistics: Supply, transformation, consumption - electricity  - annual data. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/data/database

IEA. Energy balances: Electricty output in GWh.  http://data.iea.org/IEASTORE/DEFAULT.ASP

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

    • Electricity production from fossil fuels continues to dominate total gross electricity production in EU-27, with an almost constant share of 55 % all the way from 1990 to 2007. Natural gas was the fuel of choice for new power plants between 1990-2007, choice mainly driven by economic considerations (more advantageous gas prices compared to coal) and environmental concerns. This fuel switching led to a decrease in greenhouse gas and air pollution emissions from public power generation but increased the dependency on imported fuels (see ENER12). However, with an increase in natural gas prices relative to coal since 1999 (IEA, 2005) as well as a decrease in hydro electricity production since 2002 due to decreased rainfall, the use of coal in power generation has increased in recent years. Although the share of coal in electricity production has remained more or less constant since 1999, its use has increased in absolute terms due to the overall increase in electricity demand. Consequently, emissions from public power generation have begun to rise again (see ENER 01, 06, 07, 08 and 09)
    • In 2007, the average carbon intensity of the electricity production in EU-27 was 392 grCO2 /kWh[1].


    [1] Forthcoming EEA indicator. The main sources of data are Eurostat’s energy balances and the EU greenhouse gas inventory to the UNFCCC. Autoproducers are not considered in this methodology because CO2 from autoproducers are reported in the respective sector so the associated electricity production had to be excluded from the calculation. Import/exports of electricity also are excluded in this methodology because CO2 emissions from stationary sources are based on the territorial definition used for UNFCCC reporting.

 

Specific policy question: What are the trends concerning the electricity production from renewable sources in Europe?

Specific assessment

  • The total electricity produced from renewable sources increased by 67.8 % between 1990 and 2007, at an annual average growth rate of 3.1 %. The absolute growth of electricity production from renewable sources between 1990 and 2007 was 212 TWh (see Figure 1). However, 1 percentage point of this increase was observed from 2006-2007 alone, which could be largely attributed to increased renewable electricity production in Germany (+26.5 %) and Spain (+13.5 %). Substantial growth will be required to meet the indicative EU-27 target of a 20 % share of renewable electricity in final electricity consumption by 2020 (see also ENER 30 and ENER 29).

Specific policy question: What are the trends concerning the electricity production from natural gas in Europe?

Specific assessment

  • The total electricity produced from natural gas increased by 252.1 % between 1990 and 2007, at an annual average growth rate of 7.7 %. The absolute growth of electricity production from natural gas between 1990 and 2007 was 544 TWh. The primary motive for the switch to gas was economic, with low gas prices for much of the 1990s compared to coal and stricter environmental legislation. Because of this, significant investments were made in the transportation infrastructure for the delivery of gas from within and outside the EU-27 (see Figure 2). This rapid increased in gas demand also contributed to the increase in fossil fuels imports (see ENER12).

Specific policy question: What are the trends concerning the electricity production from solid fuels in Europe?

Specific assessment

  • The total electricity produced from solid fuels increased by 6.5 % between 1990 and 2007, at an annual average rate of 0.4 %. The absolute growth of electricity production from solid fuels between 1990 and 2007 was 61 TWh (see Figure 2) The electricity production from coal and lignite picked up in recent years due to narrowing of the price differential between solid fuels and natural gas and security of supply reasons (see also ENER 12).

Specific policy question: What are the trends concerning the electricity production from nuclear power plants in Europe?

Specific assessment

  • The total electricity produced from nuclear increased by 17.7 % between 1990 and 2007, at an annual average rate of 1.0 %. The absolute growth of electricity production from nuclear between 1990 and 2007 was 140 TWh. The share of electricity production from nuclear in gross electricity production declined in recent years due to the fact that few additional nuclear plants have been built. However, in recent years an increased interest towards building new nuclear power plants (or extending existing ones) can be observed in countries like the UK, the Baltic States, Poland, Sweden, and Finland or extending the life times of existing NPP’s (for instance in the Netherlands) due to concerns over security of supply, high volatility of energy commodity prices and climate change (see also ENER 13).

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Anca-Diana Barbu

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2009 2.9.1 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

This indicator is discontinued. No more assessments will be produced.
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Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
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