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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Energy efficiency in transformation / Energy efficiency in transformation (ENER 011) - Assessment published Aug 2011

Energy efficiency in transformation (ENER 011) - Assessment published Aug 2011

This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Other (Not currently being regularly updated)
Topics: ,
This indicator is discontinued. No more assessments will be produced.

Generic metadata

Topics:

Energy Energy (Primary topic)

Tags:
energy consumption | energy | co2 | power plants
DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 011
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
2008
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Are energy losses in transformation and distribution declining in Europe?

Key messages

In 2008 only 71.4% of the total primary energy consumption in the EU-27 reached the end users. Transformation and distribution losses which had increased slightly since 1990, from 29.1% in 1990 to 29.6% in 2007 have decreased to 28.6% in 2008 (about 5% of it represented the energy-sector’s own consumption of energy). An increase of the conversion efficiency in power plants has been compensated by a sharp growth in electricity consumption.

Structure of the efficiency of transformation and distribution of energy from primary energy consumption to final energy consumption, EU-27, 2008

Note: How to read the figures: % share of Gross Inland Energy Consumption (100900) for 2000 Solid Fuels, 3000 Crude oil and Petroleum Products, 4000 Gas, 5100 Nuclear Energy, 6000 Imports/exports electricity, 5500 Renewable Energies, 7100 Industrial Wastes. All in ktoe. % share of Gross Inland Energy consumption (100900) for Transformation losses (101000 Transformation input minus 101100 Transformation output), 101400 Distribution losses, 101300 consumption – energy sector, 101600 final non-energy consumption, 101800 final energy consumption – industry, 101900 final energy consumption – transport, 102010 final energy consumption – households, 102030 final energy consumption – agriculture (plus 102035 final energy consumption fisheries), 102035 final energy consumption – services, 102040 final energy consumption – other sectors.

Data source:

Eurostat. Energy statistics:% share of Gross Inland Energy Consumption (100900) for 2000 Solid Fuels, 3000 Crude oil and Petroleum Products, 4000 Gas, 5100 Nuclear Energy, 6000 Imports/exports electricity, 5500 Renewable Energies, 7100 Industrial Wastes. All in ktoe. % share of Gross Inland Energy consumption (100900) for Transformation losses (101000 Transformation input minus 101100 Transformation output), 101400 Distribution losses, 101300 consumption – energy sector, 101600 final non-energy consumption, 101800 final energy consumption – industry, 101900 final energy consumption – transport, 102010 final energy consumption – households, 102030 final energy consumption – agriculture (plus 102035 final energy consumption fisheries), 102035 final energy consumption – services, 102040 final energy consumption – other sectors.Webpage: http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=nrg_100a&lang=en

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Energy losses and energy availability for end users in 2008 (% of primary energy consumption)

Note: How to read the figure: % Share of 101300 (consumption – energy sector), 101400 (distribution losses), 101500 (energy available for final consumption), Transformation losses (101000 Transformation input minus 101100 Transformation output) within the sum of the above four elements for each Member State

Data source:

Eurostat. Energy statistics: % Share of 101300 (consumption – energy sector), 101400 (distribution losses), 101500 (energy available for final consumption), Transformation losses (101000 Transformation input minus 101100 Transformation output) within the sum of the above four elements for each Member State. Webpage: http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=nrg_100a&lang=en

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Key assessment

  • Between 1990 and 2007 energy losses in transformation and distribution increased from 29.1% in 1990 to 29.6% in 2007, but in 2008 that trend has been reversed with energy losses reducing to 28.6% (including energy sector consumption of energy). The energy-efficiency of power and heat generation in conventional power plants, increased from 42% in 1990 to 49.8% in 2008 (see ENER019), the losses in energy supply slightly increased because the share of electricity consumption in total final energy consumption increased by 41%, from 17% in 1990 to 24% in 2007 (see ENER018). In 2008, about 82% of the losses in the energy supply sector in EU27 are a result of transformation and distribution. An increased share of electricity consumption thereby has a large impact on energy losses in the energy supply sector.
  • Transformation losses represented 22.0% of EU-27 primary energy consumption in 2008 (see Figure 1). In addition to direct generation efficiency, these losses also depend on the fuel mix (e.g. direct production of electricity from renewables, excluding biomass and municipal waste[1], is not subject to transformation losses in the same way as fossil fuels are), the level of electricity imports and the share of nuclear power[2] (see also ENER013).
  • Around 1.4% of primary energy is lost in distribution. This is a slight increase in comparison to 1990, where distribution losses were equal to 1.3%. Distribution losses include losses in gas and heat distribution, in electricity transmission and distribution, and in coal transport.
  • In 2008, the energy supply sector itself consumed 5.2% of primary energy as part of its internal operations. In addition, around 6.3% of primary energy products are used directly as feedstocks (primarily in the petrochemical sector) rather than for energy purposes. This is again a slight increase in comparison to 1990, where losses in the energy supply sector were equal to 5.0%.
  • The efficiency of the energy system (the ratio of final energy consumption to primary energy available for end-users) varies considerably across Member States as shown in Figure 2. Losses in transformation and distribution range from 5.1% for Luxembourg to 48.1% for Malta. The low level of losses in Luxembourg reflects a significant degree of electricity imports from other countries (which means that the transformation losses involved in its production are not counted in the country of final use) as well as the fact that a significant amount of electricity (over 76%) comes from high efficiency gas-fired power plants with the remaining demand covered from hydro and other renewables. In Malta on the other hand, the main technologies used for power generation are low efficiency, small-scale oil-fired internal combustion engines and steam turbines which explains why around 50% of the primary energy is lost. In Norway, in 2008, 98% of the electricity was generated by hydropower. In Eurostat statistics the conversion efficiency used for hydropower is 100% which explains the high efficiency for Norway.  
  • Losses from distribution are, on average, the smallest overall, but still subject to sizeable variation between Member States (from 0.3% of primary energy supply for Luxembourg to 4.0% for Romania). Countries with a high amount of district heating tend to have higher overall distribution losses. This is because losses in heat distribution networks can be sizeable (in the order of 5%-25%). Network (i.e. distribution) losses primarily depend on factors such as network design, operation and maintenance, but also on population density of the country. Systems are more efficient when power lines to large consumers are as direct as possible and reduce the number of transformation steps (as these can account for almost half of network losses - Leonardo Energy, 2008). Increasing use of distributed generation may be one way to reduce such losses.

[1] If the municipal waste is used for direct utilisation of heat (or in CHP plants), the efficiency can be high in the order of 90%. If the waste however is used for only electricity production, the efficiency is only about 30%. However, these plants are valued primarily because they offer an alternative for waste disposal so efficiency is not the main goal.

[2] In the statistics recorded by Eurostat the ratio of primary energy to electricity production from nuclear is fixed at 1/3.

Specific policy question: How much can increased efficiency in transformation help reduce CO2 emissions in Europe?

Structure of CO2 emissions from thermal power plants in EU-27, 2008

Note: How to read the figures: Left-top: % Share of fuel input (TJ) by type (liquid, solid, gaseous, biomass and other fuels) into 1A1a public electricity and heat production. Left-bottom: Implied emission factor for each fuel above (tCO2 / TJ), taken from EEA (2008) Right-top: Average efficiency of transformation in EU-27. Numerator = 101109 Output from district heating plants + 101121 Output from public thermal power stations Denominator = 101009 Input to district heating plants + 101021 Input to public thermal power stations Right-bottom: % Share of CO2 emissions by fuel type (liquid, solid, gaseous, biomass and other fuels into 1A1a public electricity and heat production)

Data source:
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CO2 emission savings per year for EU-27 at different transformation efficiencies compared to current 2008 efficiency

Note: CO2 emission savings per year for EU-27 at different transformation efficiencies compared to current 2008 efficiency

Data source:
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Specific assessment

  •   Figure 3 highlights the environmental link between fuel use and CO2 emissions from conventional thermal power plants (electricity-only plants, heat-only plants and combined heat and power plants) in the EU-27. Moving clockwise from top-left to the bottom-left, it illustrates the share of fuel inputs (dominated primarily by coal) in EU power plants in 2008, the implied average emissions factor for each fuel type, and the average thermal plant efficiency (currently 49.8% if district heating is also included) across the EU-27. From this, the proportion of CO2 emissions caused by each fuel type can be calculated. For example, gaseous fuels (primarily natural gas) have a smaller share of fuel inputs relative to their share of output emissions, due a lower carbon content of the fuel. 
  •   Given the current average efficiency and fuel mix in 2008, if conventional thermal power plants in the EU-27 were to further improve their efficiency, significant CO2 savings could be achieved as illustrated by Figure 4 (by comparison, the Kyoto commitment for the EU-15 is about 340 MtCO2). For example, new state-of-the art MACC (More Advanced Combined Cycle) gas turbines in theory can achieve electricity generation efficiencies of 60% (Ecofys, 2007), however, this has not been demonstrated yet in commercial operation. Furthermore, combined heat and power (CHP) plants that utilise a greater portion of the available heat (e.g. t directly for space heating or industrial steam) can reach even higher overall efficiencies of 80-90%. 

 

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.

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100