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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Energy-related emissions of acidifying substances / Energy-related emissions of acidifying substances (ENER 006) - Assessment published Apr 2012

Energy-related emissions of acidifying substances (ENER 006) - Assessment published Apr 2012

This content has been archived on 12 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated
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Generic metadata

Topics:

Energy Energy (Primary topic)

Air pollution Air pollution

Tags:
co2 | air pollution | electricity | energy | air | heat | so2 | nox | emissions | pollutants | nitrogen dioxide
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 006
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
2005-2009
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Are energy-related emissions of acidifying substances decreasing?

Key messages

Energy-related emissions account for only 2% of NH3 emissions but 96% of NOx and 94% of SO2 emissions in the EEA-32 in 2009. They fell by 17%, 13% and 21% respectively between 2005 and 2009 in EEA-32 countries. Since 1990, these energy related emissions declined by 40% and 78% for NOx and SO2 respectively but increased by 88% for NH3 in the EU-27 and declined by 37% (NOx) and 74% (SO2) and increased by 92% (NH3) in EEA-32 member countries. However as noted earlier the percentage of energy related NH3 emissions are insignificant compare do the non-energy related NH3 emissions. Most of the total reduction in pollutants contributing to acid deposition since 1990 is accounted for by lower SO2 emissions from the energy-producing sector and lower NOx emissions from the transport sector. The EU-27 is broadly on track to meet its overall targets set under the NEC Directive (NECD)[1], however further reductions are needed to improve remaining local and transboundary air pollution issues, and for ensuring that individual countries meet emissions ceiling targets under the NECD and the UNECE Gothenburg Protocol.


[1] See Pollutant Specific Factsheet NOx

Contribution of different sectors (energy and non-energy) to total emissions of SO2, NOx, NH3, 2009, EEA-32

Note: The figue shows the contribution of different sectors (energy and non-energy) to total emissions of SO2, NOx and NH3

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Emissions intensity of electricity & heat production and public conventional thermal power production, EEA-32

Note: The figure shows the emissions intensity of electricity & heat production and public conventional thermal power production, EEA-32

Data source:

EUROSTAT 2010. Energy data - Output of heat and electricity from public thermal power stations from Eurostat,  http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/

EEA. EEA aggregated and gap filled air pollutant data. Available at: http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotApp/pivot.aspx?pivotid=468

Downloads and more info

Emissions intensity from public conventional thermal power production, EEA32

Note: Emissions intensity is calculated as the amount of pollutant produced (in tonnes) from public electricity and heat production (includes output from district heating plants and output from public thermal power stations) divided by the output of electricity and heat (in toe) from these plants. Data from Luxemburg are not recorded.

Data source:

EEA. EEA aggregated and gap filled air pollutant data. Available at: http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotApp/pivot.aspx?pivotid=468


EUROSTAT. Energy data - Output of heat and electricity from public thermal power stations from Eurostat http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/.

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

In the EEA-32, energy related emissions declined by 13% (NOx), 21% (SO2) and 17% (NH3) between 2005 and 2009. NOx, SO2 and NH3 emissions declined by 13%, 27% and 17% respectively in the EU-27 within the same period.

Energy-related emissions are the predominant sources of total NOx and SOx emissions in 2009 in the EEA-32, accounting for 96% of NOx and 94% of SO2 emissions, underlining the large contribution that energy production and use make to both local and transboundary air pollution. The non-energy related agriculture sector is the most important source of NH3, releasing the vast majority of NH3 (over 94%) in 2009 in the EEA-32. Emission reductions from agriculture have been much lower than from energy-related sources since 1990 (see Figure 1). 

For NOx, all sources except for Household & services (+15%), Other transport (+2%), and Waste (+8%) have decreased I the EEA_32 countries since 2005. Combustion modification and flue-gas treatment have been used to reduce NOx emissions. One of the most common forms of combustion modification is to use low NOx burners, which typically can reduce NOx emissions by up to 40 %. Flue gas treatment such as selective catalytic reduction can also be used to remove NOx from the flue gases.

Total SO2 emissions decreased significantly across all sectors in the EEA-32 (30%) and EU-27 (37%) countries since 2005 (see Figure 1). Energy related SO2 emissions decreased significantly in most EEA32 member countries since 2005, with the highest overall reductions in Slovenia (71%), Spain (67%) and Portugal (58%) (see Figure 3 and 4). Similarly, energy related NOx emissions decreased in 29 out of 30[1] countries since 2005, with the highest reduction occurring in the United Kingdom (30%) and Ireland (29%). However, NH3 emissions increased in 10 out of 29[2] EEA member countries in the same time period with large increases in Bulgaria (more than 25 times the 2005 value).  The large increase was primarily a result of an increase in road transport[3].

Many of the reductions reported here are a result of actions implemented as a result of various European policies and measures, including the Industrial Emissions Directive, IPPC Directive, the Large Combustion Plant Directive, vehicle EURO standards, and the EU NECD and Gothenburg Protocol. The EU-27 as a whole is on track to meet its NECD target to reduce emissions from SO2, NH3 and NOx.

However, many individual countries currently anticipate missing their respective emission ceilings for NOx[4].

The emissions and emissions intensity o sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from public conventional thermal power plants has decreased substantially since 2005 (Figure 4). During the period 2005 to 2009, the emissions intensity of NOx from public conventional thermal plants in the EEA-32 decreased by 7% (see Figures 4 and 5). This was due to the increased use of end-of-pipe abatement techniques. NOx intensities fell in the majority of Member States (except Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Turkey and Hungary), with the largest decreases of over 50 % occurring in Italy and the Ireland.

The emissions intensity of SO2 from public conventional thermal power plants decreased by 23 % from 2005 to 2009, a significantly larger reduction than occurred for NOx emissions intensities from public conventional thermal power plants (see Figures 4 and 5). All member states apart form Switzerland, Slovakia and Romania show a reduction in SO2 emissions with 11 member states showing reductions of over 50% in emissions intensity. In particular Spain and Belgium decreased their emissions intensity the most.

 


[1] No data available for Luxemburg and Poland for 2005

[2] No data available for Iceland, Turkey and Poland  for 2005

[3] Bulgaria did not report any emissions for certain sector in 2005 compared to 2009, household and services and manufacturing, making the 2005 total emissions values artificially smaller than the 2009 value.

[4] NOx Pollutant specific fact sheet

Specific policy question: How rapidly are the energy-related (except transport) emissions of acidifying substances declining?

Emissions intensity of electricity & heat production and public conventional thermal power production, EEA-32

Note: The figure shows the emissions intensity of electricity & heat production and public conventional thermal power production, EEA-32

Data source:

EUROSTAT 2010. Energy data - Output of heat and electricity from public thermal power stations from Eurostat,  http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/

EEA. EEA aggregated and gap filled air pollutant data. Available at: http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotApp/pivot.aspx?pivotid=468

Downloads and more info

Estimated impact of different factors on the reduction in emissions of SO2 from public electricity and heat production between 1990 and 2009, EEA-32

Note: The chart shows the estimated contributions of the various factors that have affected emissions from public electricity and heat production (including public thermal power stations, nuclear power stations, hydro power plants and wind plants).

Data source:

EEA. Emissions - Officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe/Co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmissions of air pollutants in Europe) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). Available at:
http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/eea-aggregated-and-gap-filled-air-emission-data-3

EUROSTAT. Energy data - Output of heat and electricity from public thermal power stations from Eurostat http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/data/database

Downloads and more info

Estimated impact of different factors on the reduction in emissions of NOx from public electricity and heat production between 1990 and 2009, EEA-32

Note: The chart shows the estimated contributions of the various factors that have affected emissions from public electricity and heat production (including public thermal power stations, nuclear power stations, hydro power plants and wind plants).

Data source:

EEA. Emissions - Officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe/Co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmissions of air pollutants in Europe) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP). Available at: http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/eea-aggregated-and-gap-filled-air-emission-data-3

EUROSTAT. Energy data - heat and electricity from public thermal power stations from Eurostat http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/energy/data/database

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

Energy industries (such as public heat and electricity production) contribute over half of all SO2 (66%) and account for a quarter of total NOx (22%) emissions in 2009, and emissions have decreased by nearly 24% and 10% respectively since 2005 (see Figures 1 and 2). The emissions intensity of NOx from public conventional thermal plants in the EEA-32 decreased by 54% since 1990 (see Figures 5). This was due to the increased use of catalytic reduction, low-NOx burners and the use of less polluting fuels in public conventional thermal power production in many Member States.

Much of this reduction of energy-related emissions (except transport) of acidifying substances is due to a decrease in SO2 emissions. This was mainly due to abatement techniques, use of low-sulphur fuels, to fossil fuel switching and the economic downturn (Figure 5 and 6). The increased utilisation of coal plants has in recent years meant that the decline in SO2 emissions has slowed, although the significant specific reductions being achieved by flue gas desulphurisation mean that SO2 emissions have continued to fall in absolute terms (Figure 5 and 6). In the absence of any changes to the generation mix since 1990 SO2 would have increased by 25% by 2009 (Figure 6).

If the structure of power production had remained unchanged from 1990 then by 2009 emissions of NOx would have increased by 25% above their 1990 levels (Figure 7). NOx emissions stayed broadly stable since 2000. This trend is linked to an increased use of coal and lignite for electricity and heat production from 1999/2000 onwards.

Specific policy question: How rapidly are transport-related emissions of acidifying substances declining?

Specific assessment

NOx emissions from the transport sector are the largest source of energy-combustion emissions and reductions in this sector are largely due to the introduction of catalytic converters on new cars since the early 1990s. However, emission controls on vehicles, and in particular certain catalyst technologies in road vehicles, can increase the rate of N2O generation and thus of greenhouse gases. The Transport White Paper published by the European Council in 2010 proposes a vast number of measures to develop a more sustainable transport sector through tightening of regulations and controls and promotion of biofuels and electric vehicles.

Data sources

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Anca-Diana Barbu

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EEA Management Plan

2011 2.8.1 (note: EEA internal system)

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