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Total energy consumption - outlook from EEA

Indicator Specificationexpired Created 12 Apr 2007 Published 08 Jun 2009 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 06:59 PM
This content has been archived on 12 Nov 2013, reason: Content not regularly updated
Indicator codes: Outlook 050
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Justification for indicator selection

Total energy consumption disaggregated by fuel type is a driving force indicator describing the development of energy sources and the corresponding levels of consumption. The environmental impact of each fuel is very specific.

The consumption of fossil fuels (such as crude oil, oil products, hard coal, lignite and natural and derived gas) provides a proxy indicator of resource depletion, CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution levels (e.g. SO2 and NOX). The degree of the 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 content than coal 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 contribute to reductions in CO2 emissions.

Renewable energy consumption is a measure of the contribution from technologies that are 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. The incineration of municipal waste is generally made up of both renewable and non-renewable material and may also generate local air pollution. However, emissions from the incineration of waste are subject to stringent regulations including tight controls on quantities of cadmium, mercury and other such substances. Similarly, the inclusion of both large and small-scale hydropower provides only a broad indicator of environmentally benign energy supply. While small-scale hydro schemes generally have little environmental impact, large-scale hydro can have major adverse impacts (flooding, impact on ecosystems, water levels, requirements for population resettlement).

Scientific references

Indicator definition

Definition: Total energy consumption is made up of production plus imports, minus exports, minus international marine bunkers plus/minus stock changes. It is also called Total primary energy supply or Gross inland energy consumption and represents the quantity of all energy necessary to satisfy inland consumption.

Model used: PRIMES

Ownership: European Environment Agency

Temporal coverage: 1990 - 2030

Geographical coverage: EU 15 : Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom; EU 12: Bulgaria Cyprus, Czech republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia


The indicator is provided in relative (Mtoe) and absolute ways (share in percentage).

Total Energy consumption is measured in million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). Therefore, the share of each fuel in total energy consumption is measured in absolute value, but presented in the form of a percentage. The sum of all fuel-shares equals 100 %.

Policy context and targets

Context description

Global policy context

The major documents that relate to trends of the total energy consumption (supply) at the global level were developed and presented during the World Summit on Sustainable Development  in Johannesburg (WSSD,2002) in Agenda 21. WSSD, 2002 aims to achieve a sustainable energy future, including diversified energy sources using cleaner technologies. Moreover, there is a number of sub-negotiations and declarations concerning more sustainable ratio in balance between a global energy supply and consumption of different energy types.

Pan-European policy context

The recent pan-european policies concerning different aspects of total energy consumption have been developed under different intenational fora. 

The Committee on Sustainable Energy seeks to reform energy prices and subsidies and ways how to carry out it to meet more sustainable energy supply, production and consumption in the region (UNECE Guidelines).

Kiev Declaration "Environment for Europe" (2003) aims at supporting further efforts to promote renewable energy supply to meet environmental objectives.

EU policy context

Total energy consumption disaggregated by fuel type provides an indication of the extent of environmental pressure caused (or at risk of being caused) by energy production and consumption. The relative shares of fossil fuels, nuclear power and renewable energies together with the total amount of energy consumption are valuable in determining the overall environmental burden of energy consumption in the EU.

 Trends in the share of these fuels will be one of the major determinants of whether the EU meets its target of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as agreed in 1997 under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The overall Kyoto target for the pre-2004 EU-15 Member States requires a 8% reduction by 2008-2012 from baseyear levels (1990 for most greenhouse gases), while most new Member States have individual targets under the Kyoto Protocol. 

On 23 January 2008 the European Commission adopted the 'Climate Action and Renewable Energy' package. The Package sets a number of targets for EU member states with the ambition to achieve the goal of limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times including: GHG reduction of 20% compared to 1990 by 2020. (under a satisfactory global climate agreement this could be scaled up to a 30% reduction); 20% reduction in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency, an increase in renewable energy's share to 20% and a 10% share for sustainably produced biofuels and other renewable fuels in transport. With these goals in mind, each Member State will by June 30th 2010 submit a National Renewable Energy Action Plan to the Commission.

EECCA policy context

The main policy illustrating regional objectives of EECCA countries is EECCA Environmental Strategy. One of the main goals is "to contribute to improving environmental conditions and to implement the WSSD Implementation Plan in EECCA countries" regarding energy issues as well as Kiev Declaration's energy performance tasks.


Global level

  • Implement energy strategies for Sustainable Development, including diversified energy sources using cleaner technologies (WSSD)

Pan-European level

  • Increase the share of renewable meet environmental objectives (Kiev Declaration)

EU level

  • Balancing sustainable development, competitiveness, security of supply (2006EC Green Paper on energy)
  • By 2010: 22.1% of electricity and 12% of all energy from renewables (6thEAP and Green Paper on Energy)
  • 20% replacment of vehicle fuels with alternative fuels by 2020 (A European partnership for the sustainable hydrogen economy)
  • Diversifying energy supplies, including via new infrastructure (e. g. pipelines) (Green Paper on Energy)
  • Replace 20% oil with substitute fuels by 2020 (EU)
  • Trans-European Energy networks, also beyond EU (Green Paper on Energy)


  • Energy infrastructure improvements for sustainability by 2025 (EECCA Strategy)
  • Support regional cooperation for energy trade (EECCA Strategy)

Related policy documents

Key policy question

Are we switching to less polluting fuels to meet our energy consumption?


Methodology for indicator calculation

The indicator of the Total energy consumption (gross inland consumption) is produced using the PRIMES model. The model covers the horizon from 1990 to 2030 with 5 years periods. A fundamental assumption in PRIMES is that producers and consumers both respond to changes in prices.

Overview of the PRIMES Model

PRIMES is a partial equilibrium model for the European Union energy system developed by, and maintained at, The National Technical University of Athens, E3M-Laboratory. The most recent version of the model used in the calculations covers each of the EU Member States, EU candidate countries and Neighbouring countries, uses Eurostat as the main data source, and is updated with 2000 as the base year. The PRIMES model is the result of collaborative research under a series of projects supported by the Joule programme of the Directorate General for Research of the European Commission.

The model determines the equilibrium by finding the prices of each energy form such that the quantity producers find best to supply match the quantity consumers wish to use. The equilibrium is static (within each time period) but repeated in a time-forward path, under dynamic relationships. The model is behavioural but also represents in an explicit and detailed way the available energy demand and supply technologies and pollution abatement technologies. It reflects considerations about market economics, industry structure, energy/environmental policies and regulation. These are conceived so as to influence the market behaviour of energy system agents. The modular structure of PRIMES reflects a distribution of decision-making among agents that decide individually about their supply, demand, combined supply and demand, and prices. Then the market-integrating part of PRIMES simulates market clearing. PRIMES is a general purpose model. It conceived for forecasting, scenario construction and policy impact analysis. It covers a medium to long-term horizon. It is modular and allows either for a unified model use or for partial use of modules to support specific energy studies.

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Methodology for gap filling

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

Methodology references


Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty

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Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

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General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Anita Pirc Velkavrh


No owners.


Indicator code
Outlook 050
Version id: 1


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DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100