Final electricity consumption by sector

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-120-en
Also known as: ENER 018
expired Created 27 Feb 2009 Published 05 Jul 2010 Last modified 19 Apr 2016, 04:57 PM
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This content has been archived on 06 Nov 2013, reason: Other (Not currently being regularly updated)
Final electricity consumption is increasing rapidly in all economic sectors, at an average of around 1.7% per year from 1990-2006. This is the consequence of both the attractiveness of electricity as an energy carrier and economic growth. Due to the high level of efficiency losses involved in both the production, particularly from conventional thermal and nuclear power, and transmission of electricity, the rise in electricity consumption is of particular concern for the environment.

Key messages

Final electricity consumption is increasing rapidly in all economic sectors, at an average of around 1.7% per year from 1990-2006. This is the consequence of both the attractiveness of electricity as an energy carrier and economic growth. Due to the high level of efficiency losses involved in both the production, particularly from conventional thermal and nuclear power, and transmission of electricity, the rise in electricity consumption is of particular concern for the environment.

Is electricity consumption decreasing in Europe?

Final electricity consumption by sector, EU-27

Note: Final electricity consumption is the electricity consumption of the final energy demand sectors, it does not include own use by electricity producers or transformation, transmission and distribution losses.

Data source:

Eurostat

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Average annual growth rate in electricity consumption by sector, 1990-2006 and 2005-2006, EU-27

Note: N/A

Data source:

Eurostat

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Final electricity consumption by sector in EU-27, 2020 (TWh)

Note: N/A

Data source:

IPTS, IEA

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Average annual percentage change in final electricity consumption, EU-27 1990-2006

Note: N/A

Data source:

Eurostat

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Electricity consumption per capita (in kWh/cap) in 2006

Note: MENA is Middle East and North Africa

Data source:

Eurostat, IEA

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Final electricity consumption grew across the EU-27 at an average annual rate of 1.7 % between 1990 and 2006 (an absolute increase of 31.4 %). This rate of increase was only slightly less than the average GDP growth rate over the same period, showing an apparent strong correlation between electricity consumption and economic growth. However, the increases in electricity consumption resulted not only from a growing economy, but also from an increasing share of electricity in final energy consumption, rising from 17.2 % in 1990 to 20.6 % in 2006. The attractiveness of electricity is due to its flexibility of use and the importance placed by consumers on the variety of energy services it provides. Furthermore, influenced by the liberalisation of the power market, electricity prices decreased in the 1990s - although they have started to rise again in the last few years (see EN-31).

For the EU-27 as a whole, growth in electricity consumption was particularly strong in the service sector, followed by households. The main reasons for increased electricity consumption in the service sector were the sustained growth of this sector throughout the EU, the increased use of electrical appliances (such as air conditioning, lighting or IT equipment) and the advent of new electrical devices. In the household sector, rising incomes, higher living standards and the trend towards smaller households led to more and larger dwellings and a growing demand for electrical appliances. In 2006 total household final electricity consumption was 802 TWh across a total of almost 200 million households in the EU-27.

There have been continued technical improvements in the efficiency of large electrical appliances; a decrease in average specific consumption of 1.5 % per year in the case of refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, TVs and dryers. However, these improvements have been offset by increases in the use, numbers and size of large appliances as well as a growing number of smaller appliances such as videos and computers (Enerdata et al, 2003).

In the industry sector electricity consumption grew between 1990 and 2006, but at a slower rate compared with the services and household sectors. After only a minimal growth between 2004 and 2005 (0.1 %) the growth of electricity consumption in the industry sector returned to the average annual growth of 1.0 % in 2005-2006. Industry electricity consumption in the new Member States fell sharply during the early 1990s during the process of economic restructuring, and although these countries all show growth in 2005-2006, overall they still show an average annual decrease between 1990 and 2006. This is reflected in the significant variation between the EU-27 member states. For example, in Lithuania, Latvia and Bulgaria between 1990 and 2006 the average annual consumption decreased by almost 4 %. On the other hand, in Ireland and Spain it increased by more than 4 % in the same period.

The transport sector is only responsible for around 2.6% of total electricity consumption in EU-27 and the increase in the 1990s can be attributed to growing consumption in the EU-15 (average annual increase between 1990 and 2006 of 1.9 %), due to increased electrification of Europe's railways (especially in France and the United Kingdom). The trend for the new Member States was opposite to that of EU-15, with a gradual decrease (average annual decrease between 1990 and 2006 of 3.5 %) in electricity consumed for transport purposes due to lower usage of trains and other domestic public transport, and an increase in car and air transport. The overall decrease in 2005-2006 is mainly due to a sharp decrease in Sweden, Poland and Romania (by 24.4 %, 21.6 % and 16.9 % respectively).

Most countries in the EU-27 saw increased electricity consumption over the period from 1990 to 2006, except for Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and Estonia. The growth rate of electricity consumption varied greatly by country, ranging from less than 1 % per year in Sweden, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia to over 4 % in Spain, Portugal, Malta, Ireland and Cyprus. The decrease or low growth in electricity consumption in the new Member States was a result of economic restructuring in the1990s. Electricity consumption per capita also varies greatly between countries, with the lowest per capita consumption occurring in some new Member States of central and Eastern Europe and southern European countries (Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Portugal). Although the use of air conditioning in southern European countries contributes to a large increase in electricity consumption during the summer months, the highest consumption per capita was in the most northerly countries, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland, where electrical heating based on low cost electricity produced by hydropower meets a large part of the overall heating requirements.

The average electricity use per capita in the EU-27 is almost 2.4 times the global average and 3.3 times that for China. Only Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland are using more electricity per capita than in the United States. The rest of the EU-27 is well below the US.

Projections:

Projections from POLES indicate an overall increase of electricity consumption for both the Baseline Scenario as well as the GHG Reduction Scenario. In comparison with the Baseline Scenario, the GHG Reduction Scenario projects a reduction of the  electricity consumption in Households, Services, Agriculture and other sectors. The WEO 2007 projections show the same increase in electricity consumption but, with the exception of the Alternative Policy scenario, these are significantly lower than the POLES projections.

Is electricity consumption decreasing in the European service (including agriculture) sector?

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

Final electricity consumption covers electricity supplied to the final consumer's door for all energy uses, it does not include own use by electricity producers or transmission and distribution losses. It is calculated as the sum of final electricity consumption from all sectors. These are disaggregated to cover industry, transport, households, services (including agriculture and other sectors).

Units

Final electricity consumption is measured in terawatt hours (TWh).


Policy context and targets

Context description

Environmental context

Reducing electricity consumption is a robust way to lower the environmental impacts of electricity generation. This may result from reducing the electricity consumption for lighting, appliances and information and communication technology equipment, or by using electricity in a more efficient way, or from a combination of the two. In the transport sector, however, an increase in electricity consumption might signal a positive trend of modal shift towards rail transport or a higher penetration of electric vehicles.

Nevertheless, the type and extent of energy-related pressures on the environment depends not only on the amount of electricity consumed (and thus generated and/or avoided), but also on the fuels used for electricity generation, which are predominantly still fossil fuels (see ENER 27 for more information about electricity production by fuel and its impacts) and how the electricity is produced (see ENER 19 on efficiency of conventional thermal electricity generation, ENER 20 on penetration of combined heat and power and ENER 06 on the extent to which pollution abatement technologies are used) .

The switch from other end-use fuels towards electricity increases the environmental pressure in many cases, as around three units of energy are needed to produce one unit of electricity, due to efficiency losses in electricity generation and transmission. However, if the electricity is generated by low emission technologies like renewables, such a switch could also significantly reduce the environmental consequences of electricity production while, at the same time, improving the security of energy supply.

Policy context

Council adopted on 6 April 2009 the climate-energy legislative package containing measures to fight climate change and promote renewable energy. This package is designed to achieve the EU's overall environmental target of a 20 % reduction in greenhouse gases and a 20 % share of renewable energy in the EU's total energy consumption by 2020.The climate action and renewable energy (CARE) package includes the following main policy documents

  • Directive 2009/29/ec of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the community
  • Directive 2009/31/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide
  • Directive 2009/28/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
  • Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection (2008/c 82/01)
  • Directive 2008/101/ec of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas Emission allowance trading within the community
  • Regulation (ec) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles

 

Second Strategic Energy Review; COM(2008) 781 final. Strategic review on short, medium and long term targets on EU energy security.

Eco-Design Directive; COM(2008) 778 final/2. Directive on intensification of existing regulation on energy-efficiency of products.

 

Targets

No targets have been specified

Related policy documents

  • 2008/101/EC
    Directive 2008/101/ec of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to include aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas Emission allowance trading within the community
  • 2008/c 82/01
    Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection (2008/c 82/01)
  • 2009/29/ec
    Directive 2009/29/ec of the European parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/ec so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the community.
  • 2009/31/EC
    Directive 2009/31/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the geological storage of carbon dioxide.
  • ADEME (2003)
    Energy efficiency in the European Union 1990-2001.
  • Climate action and renewable energy package (CARE Package)
    Combating climate change is a top priority for the EU. Europe is working hard to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise.
  • COD/2008/0013
    Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading system of the Community.
  • COD/2008/0014
    Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2020.
  • COM(2008) 16 final
    Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gasemission allowance trading system of the Community
  • COM(2008) 778
    Eco-Design Directive; COM(2008) 778
  • COM(2008) 781
    COM(2008) 781 final - Second Strategic Energy Review
  • DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC
    DIRECTIVE 2009/28/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC
  • EEA (2008)
     Greenhouse gas data viewer, 2008
  • REGULATION (EC) No 443/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL 443/2009
    Regulation (ec) no 443/2009 of the European parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.
  • SEC(2007) 53
    Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the EU greenhouse gas emission allowance trading system - Summary of the Impact Assessment.

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

Average annual rate of growth calculated using: [(last year/base year) ^ (1/number of years) –1]*100
Electricity consumption per capita calculated by dividing final electricity consumption by population for each country (demo_pjan).
The coding (used in the Eurostat New Cronos database) and specific components of the indicator (in relation to the product ‘6000 - electrical energy’) are:
Numerator: final electricity consumption industry 101800 + final electricity consumption transport 101900 + final electricity consumption households 102010 + final electricity consumption services/agriculture calculated as (final electricity consumption households/services 102000 - final electricity consumption households 102010).
Only if needed for shares; Denominator: (total) final electricity consumption 101700.
For non-EEA members data from the IEA is used:
Report ‘Electricity Information’, table ‘World, Electricity/Heat Supply and Consumption’, product ‘Electricity (GWh)’, balance (‘Observed Consumption – Total Energy Sector’). Report ‘World Energy Balances’, table ‘World Indicators’, flow ‘Population (millions)’.

Methodology for gap filling

No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

Any cross-country comparison of the distribution of electricity consumption between sectors will have to be accompanied by a relevant measure of the importance of the sector in the economy, as the sectoral shares also depends on the country's economic circumstances. Because the focus is on the reduction of electricity consumption and not on the sectoral redistribution of such consumption, the trends in the absolute values (in TWh) should be preferred as a more meaningful indicator of progress. However, even if the same sectors in two countries are equally important to the economy, the gross (primary) consumption of energy needed to generate the electricity before it reaches the final user might draw from energy sources that pollute the environment in different ways. Thus, from an environmental point of view, the final electricity consumption of a sector should be analysed in that broader context.
The sectoral breakdown of electricity consumption includes industry, transport, households, services, agriculture, fisheries and other sectors.

Geographical coverage:
The Agency had 32 member countries at the time of writing of this fact sheet. These are the 27 European Union Member States and Turkey, plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
No energy data available for Liechtenstein or Iceland.
Data for World, United States, China, India, Russia, the Middle East and Africa.

Methodology and frequency of data collection:
Data collected annually.
Eurostat metadata for energy statistics http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/statistics/metadata

Data sets uncertainty

Officially reported data, updated annually. No obvious weaknesses.
Data have been traditionally compiled by Eurostat through the annual Joint Questionnaires, shared by Eurostat and the International Energy Agency, following a well established and harmonised methodology. Methodological information on the annual Joint Questionnaires and data compilation can be found in Eurostat's web page for metadata on energy statistics. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/statistics/metadata See also information related to the Energy Statistics Regulation http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/introduction

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Generic metadata

Topics:

Energy Energy (Primary topic)

Tags:
energy
DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 018
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, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Anca-Diana Barbu

EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

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