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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Electricity production by fuel / Electricity production by fuel (ENER 027) - Assessment published Aug 2011

Electricity production by fuel (ENER 027) - Assessment published Aug 2011

This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Other (This indicator is no longer being regularly updated)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:
1990-2008
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 Switzerland 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 2008, the share in total gross electricity production of the electricity generated from fossil fuels was 52.9 %, and the share of nuclear 27.3 %. The electricity generated from renewable sources was 18.0% (in 2008). The total electricity production increased significantly by 31.3 % since 1990, thus offsetting some of the emissions reductions achieved due to fuel switching from solid fuels to natural gas.

Share of electricity production by fuel type in 2008

Note: The figure shows the share of electricity production by fuel type in 2008. 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 2007-2008 were available from Eurostat, the 2006 data were used as an estimate.

Data source:

Eurostat 2010. Electricity production by fuel and total gross electricity generation - 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

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Gross electricity production by fuel, EU-27

Note: The total volume of electricity produced from renewable sources increased by 288 TWh between 1990 and 2008: this represents an increase of 87.2 % (3.5 %/year on average). From 1990 to 2003, the share of renewable in the electricity production remained quite stable (13-14%); from 2003 to 2008 this share has increased from 13.9% to 18.4%. Most of this increase can be attributed to Germany, Sweden, France, Spain and Italy with a respective share of 17.7%, 13.3%, 13.1%, 11.1% and 10.7% in the EU-27 electricity production from renewable. From 2003 to 2008, electricity production from renewable has increased by 6.4% per year in the EU-27, with an annual growth rate of 15.1% for Denmark, 13.4% for Netherlands, 9.0%/year for Germany and 8.0%/year for Ireland from 1990. Substantial growth will be required to meet the indicative EU-27 target of a 20 % share of renewable in final energy consumption by 2020 (see also ENER030 and ENER029).

Data source:

Eurostat 2010. Electricity production by fuel abd total gross electrcity generation  - 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, 1990-2008 (%), EU-27

Note: The total electricity produced from natural gas increased by 592 TWh (274 %) between 1990 and 2008, at an annual average growth rate of 7.6 %. 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. This rapid increased in gas demand also contributed to the increase in fossil fuels imports.

Data source:

Eurostat 2010. Electricity production by fuel and total gross electricity generation  - annual data. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/data/database

 

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 53 % all the way from 1990 to 2008. Natural gas was the fuel of choice for new power plants since 1990, 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. The share of coal in electricity production has remained more or less constant between 1999 and 2007 (around 29-30%) and decreased to 26.3% in 2008. The use of coal has slightly decreased in the last year terms due to the overall decrease in electricity demand. Consequently, emissions from public power generation have begun to decline again (see ENER 01, 06, 07, 08 and 09).
    • In 2008, the average carbon intensity of the electricity production in EU-27 was around 400 gCO2 /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 volume of electricity produced from renewable sources increased by 288 TWh between 1990 and 2008: this represents an increase of 87.2 % (3.5 %/year on average) (see Figure 1). From 1990 to 2003, the share of renewable in the electricity production remained quite stable (13-14%); from 2003 to 2008 this share has increased from 13.9% to 18.4%. Most of this increase can be attributed to Germany, Sweden, France, Spain and Italy with a respective share of 17.7%, 13.3%, 13.1%, 11.1% and 10.7% in the EU-27 electricity production from renewable. From 2003 to 2008, electricity production from renewable has increased by 6.4% per year in the EU-27, with an annual growth rate of 15.1% for Denmark, 13.4% for Netherlands, 9.0%/year for Germany and 8.0%/year for Ireland from 1990. Substantial growth will be required to meet the indicative EU-27 target of a 20 % share of renewable in final energy consumption by 2020 (see also ENER030 and ENER029).

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 592 TWh (274 %) between 1990 and 2008, at an annual average growth rate of 7.6 %. 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 decreased by 12.3% between 1990 and 2008, at an annual average rate of 0.7 %. This decrease mainly took place between 1990 and 1999 and in 2008. Indeed, the share of coal in electricity production remained more or less constant between 1999 and 2007 (around 29-30%) and decreases 8.6 % between 2007 and 2008 (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 was 142 TWh higher in 2008 than in 1990 (17.9 %). It actually increased regularly until 2004 (+214 TWh or 27% between 1990 and 2004), mainly in France (about 60% of the total).  Electricity production from nuclear is decreasing since 2004 (-71 TWh or -7.1% between 2004 and 2008), mainly in Sweden, UK and Germany with the shutdown of several nuclear reactors. 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, Slovenia and Romania (no data for Poland), Sweden, and Finland or extending the life times of existing NPP’s (for instance in France, 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

2010 2.8.1 (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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Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100