Primary energy consumption by fuel
Justification for indicator selection
The level, the evolution as well as the structure of the total gross inland energy consumption provide an indication of the extent environmental pressures caused by energy production and consumption are likely to diminish or not. The type and magnitude of the environmental impacts associated with energy consumption, such as resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions, water pollution, accumulation of radioactive waste, etc., strongly depend on the type and amount of fuel consumed as well as abatement technologies applied. The indicator displays data disaggregated by fuel type as the associated environmental impacts are fuel-specific.
The consumption of fossil fuels (such as crude oil, oil products, hard coal, lignite and natural and derived gas) provides a proxy indicator for resource depletion, CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution levels (e.g. SO2 and NOX), water pollution and biodiversity loss. The degree of environmental impact depends on the relative share of different fossil fuels and the extent to which pollution abatement measures are used. Natural gas, for instance, has approximately 40 % less carbon than coal per unit of energy content, and 25 % less carbon content than oil, and contains only marginal quantities of sulphur.
The level of nuclear energy consumption provides an indication of the trends in the amount of nuclear waste generated and of the risks associated with radioactive leaks and accidents. Increasing consumption of nuclear energy at the expense of fossil fuels would on the other hand contributes to reductions in CO2 emissions.
Renewable energy consumption is a measure of the contribution from technologies that are, in general, more environmentally benign, as they produce no (or very little) net CO2 and usually significantly lower levels of other pollutants. Renewable energy can, however, have impacts on landscapes and ecosystems (for example, potential flooding and changed water levels from large hydro power) and the incineration of municipal waste (which is generally made up of both renewable and non-renewable material) may also generate local air pollution.
- No rationale references available
Total energy consumption or gross inland energy consumption represents the quantity of energy necessary to satisfy the inland consumption of a country. It is calculated as the sum of the gross inland consumption of energy from solid fuels, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable sources, and a small component of ‘other’ sources (industrial waste and net imports of electricity). The relative contribution of a specific fuel is measured by the ratio between the energy consumption originating from that specific fuel and the total gross inland energy consumption calculated for a calendar year.
Energy consumption is measured in thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). The share of each fuel in total energy consumption is presented in the form of a percentage.
Projections are for 2020-2030 from the POLES (IPTS) Baseline and GHG Reduction Scenario, from the WEO 2009 (IEA) Reference and 450 Stabilization Case and from PRIMES (EC) Baseline and Reference scenarios
Policy context and targets
The level, the evolution as well as the structure of the total gross inland energy consumption provide an indication of the extent environmental pressures caused by energy production and consumption are likely to diminish or not. The indicator displays data disaggregated by fuel type as the associated environmental impacts are fuel-specific.
The consumption of fossil fuels (such as crude oil, oil products, hard coal, lignite and natural and natural gas) has a number of negative effects on the environment and human health , CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution levels (e.g. SO2 and NOX), water pollution and biodiversity loss. These effects are fuel-specific.. For instance, natural gas, for instance, has approximately 40 % less carbon than coal per unit of energy content, and 25 % less carbon content than oil, and contains only marginal quantities of sulphur (see Figure 3 below). There are other environmental pressures coming from energy production: air pollution, land –use changes and crop-escape (that could result in large scale introduction of invasive species) from biomass, surface and groundwater pollution, ecosystem services and biodiversity loss, etc. The pressure on the environment and human health from energy consumption can be diminished by decreasing energy consumption and switching to energy sources that have a lower impact on the environment and human health.While nuclear power produces less greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric pollution over the life cycle compared to conventional sources, there is a risk of accidental radioactive releases, and highly radioactive waste (for which no generally acceptable disposal route has yet been established) is accumulating.
A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050 (COM(2011) 112 final)
Presents a roadmap for action in line with a 80-95% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050.
Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 (COM(2011) 109 final)
Proposes additional measures to achieve the 20 % primary energy saving target by 2020.
Energy 2020 – A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy (COM(2010) 639 final)
Energy efficiency is the first of the five priorities of the new energy strategy defined by the Commission.
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
Large Combustion Plant Directive; Directive 2001/80/EC
Aims to control emissions of SO2, NOx and particulate matter from large combustion plants (> 50 MW).
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.
Energy Performance Buildings Directive; Directive 2002/91/EC
The Member States must apply minimum requirements as regards the energy performance of new and existing buildings, ensure the certification of their energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings.
Energy Performance Buildings Directive (recast); Directive 2010/31/EU
Strengthens the energy performance requirements of the 2002 Directive.
Directive on GHG emissions of fuels and biofuels; COM(2007) 18 final/2
Sets targets for the GHG emissions from different fuel types (e.g. by improving refinery technologies) and allows the blending of up to 10 % of biofuels into diesel and petrol.
Related policy documents
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.
Energy Performance Buildings Directive
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
Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection (2008/c 82/01)
Directive 2009/28/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
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.
COM (2011) 112 - A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050
With its "Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050" the European Commission is looking beyond these 2020 objectives and setting out a plan to meet the long-term target of reducing domestic emissions by 80 to 95% by mid-century as agreed by European Heads of State and governments. It shows how the sectors responsible for Europe's emissions - power generation, industry, transport, buildings and construction, as well as agriculture - can make the transition to a low-carbon economy over the coming decades.
COM(2007) 18 final
Directive on GHG emissions of fuels and biofuels; COM(2007) 18 final/2
Eco-Design Directive; COM(2008) 778
COM(2008) 781 final - Second Strategic Energy Review
COM(2010) 639 final: Energy 2020 – A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy
A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy
COM(2011) 109 final: Energy Efficiency Plan 2011
Energy Efficiency Plan 2011
Directive 2001/80/EC, large combustion plants
Directive 2001/80/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants
DIRECTIVE 2010/31/EU - Energy performance of buildings directive
DIRECTIVE 2010/31/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings(recast)
EEA (2009) - Review and analysis of emissions' life cycle analysis studies in the field of conventional and renewable energy generation technologies
Copenhagen, EEA, February 2009
Methodology for indicator calculation
Methodology of data manipulation:
Average annual rate of growth calculated using: [(last year/base year) ^ (1/number of years) –1]*100
The coding (used in the Eurostat New Cronos database) and specific components of the indicator are:
- Numerator: solid fuels 2000 gross inland consumption 100900 + oil 3000 gross inland consumption 100900 + gas 4000 gross inland consumption 100900 + nuclear energy 5100 gross inland consumption 100900 + renewable energies 5500 gross inland consumption 100900 + industrial waste 7100 gross inland consumption + 6000 electrical energy 100900 gross inland consumption.
- Denominator: (total) gross inland consumption (of energy) 100900
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 and Switzerland.
Temporal coverage: 1990-2009
Methodology and frequency of data collection:
Data collected annually.
Eurostat definitions for energy statistics http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_SDDS/en/nrg_quant_esms.htm
Methodology for gap filling
No gap filling necessary
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
The share of energy consumption for a particular fuel could decrease even though the actual amount of energy used from that fuel grows, as the development of the share for a particular fuel depends on the change in its consumption relative to the total consumption of energy.
From an environmental point of view, however, the relative contribution of each fuel has to be put in the wider context. Absolute (as opposed to relative) volumes of energy consumption for each fuel are the key to understanding the environmental pressures. These depend on the total amount of energy consumption as well as on the fuel mix used and the extent to which pollution abatement technologies are used.
Total energy consumption may not accurately represent the energy needs of a country (in terms of final energy demand). Fuel switching may in some cases have a significant effect in changing total energy consumption even though there is no change in (final) energy demand. This is because different fuels and different technologies convert primary energy into useful energy with different efficiency rates.
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.
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Work descriptionNone work foreseen by Eurostat. The EEA has currently no plans to undertake an immediate revision of the indicator. However, the work in the medium term would be based on the need to reduce the inherent uncertainties from using/interpreting the indicator as currently defined (see the uncertainty sections).
No resource needs have been specified
Deadline2099/01/01 00:00:00 GMT+1
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoAnca-Diana Barbu
Frequency of updates
ClassificationDPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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