Total primary energy intensity
Published (reviewed and quality assured)
Justification for indicator selection
Historically, economic growth led to higher energy consumption, thus increasing the pressure of energy production and consumption on the environment. The indicator identifies to what extent there is a decoupling between energy consumption and economic growth. A positive trend (decoupling) is likely to alleviate the environmental pressures of energy production and consumption.
Total energy intensity is the ratio between the gross inland consumption of energy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) calculated for a calendar year. The gross inland consumption of energy is calculated as the sum of the gross inland consumption of the five sources of energy: solid fuels, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable sources. To monitor trends, GDP is in constant prices to avoid the impact of inflation, base year 2000.
Gross inland energy consumption is measured in 1000 tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe) and GDP in million Euro at 2000 market prices. To make comparisons of trends across countries more meaningful, the indicator is presented as an index. For country comparisons, two additional columns are included in Table 1 to show the current energy intensity in GDP in purchasing power standards for the latest available year, and also the energy intensity in terms of consumption per capita.
Policy context and targets
Achieving simultaneously economic and environmental goals requires decoupling energy-consumption from economic growth. This indicator shows the development of energy-intensity (the ratio between gross inland energy consumption and GDP). Decoupling may result from reducing the demand for energy services (e.g. heating, lighting, passenger or freight transport), or by using energy in a more efficient way (thereby using less energy per unit of output), or a combination of the two.
The indicator identifies the extent to which the decoupling between energy consumption and economic growth takes place. Relative decoupling occurs when energy consumption grows, but more slowly than gross domestic product. Absolute decoupling occurs when energy consumption is stable or falls while GDP grows. From an environmental point of view, however, overall impacts depend on the total amount of energy consumption and the fuels and technology used to produce the energy.
The Europe 2020 growth growth strategy aims to address shortcoming of the European economic model while creating coditions for smarter, more sustainable and inclusive growth. One of the headline targets include the objective of increasing the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20% by 2020.
The Directive 2012/27/eu on energy efficiency establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the European Union in order to achieve the headline target of 20% reduction in gross inland energy consumption. Member States are requested to set indicative targets. It is up to the Member states whether they base their targets on gross inland consumption, final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity. This directive has a direct impact on the renewables target since it aims to reduce the final energy consumption, thus making the renewables target easier to reach.
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.
On 15 December 2011, the European Commission adopted the Communication "Energy Roadmap 2050". The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in the context of necessary reductions by developed countries as a group. In the Energy Roadmap 2050 the Commission explores the challenges posed by delivering the EU's decarbonisation objective while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness.
On 10 November 2010, the European Commission has adopted the Communication "Energy 2020 - A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy". The Communication defines the energy priorities for the next ten years and sets the actions to be taken in order to tackle the challenges of saving energy, achieving a market with competitive prizes and secure supplies, boosting technological leadership, and effectively negotiate with our international partners.
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 of 23 April 2009 amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme of the Community
- Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 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 ("Effort Sharing Decision")
- 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 ("Renewable energy Directive")
- Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide
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
Directive 2006/12/EC on waste requires all EU Member States to take the necessary measures to ensure that waste is treated and disposed of correctly, sets targets for re-use and recycling, and requires Member States to draw up binding national programmes for waste prevention.
Second Strategic Energy Review; COM(2008) 781 final
Strategic review on short, medium and long term targets on EU energy security.
The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan; COM(2007) 723
Focuses on bringing new renewable energy technologies to market competitiveness.
The Directive 2012/27/eu on energy efficiency establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the European Union in order to achieve the headline target of 20% reduction in gross inland energy consumption. Member States are requested to set indicative targets. It is up to the Member states whether they base their targets on gross inland consumption, final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Action Plan for Energy Efficiency
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
A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship initiative under the Europe 2020 Strategy
COM(2011) 109 final: Energy Efficiency Plan 2011
Energy Efficiency Plan 2011
COM(2011) 370 final Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on energy efficiency and repealing Directives
EC, Energy efficiency measures
Reducing energy consumption and eliminating energy wastage are among the main goals of the European Union (EU). EU support for improving energy efficiency will prove decisive for competitiveness, security of supply and for meeting the commitments on climate change made under the Kyoto Protocol.
Key policy question
Has there been a complete decoupling in Europe between economic growth and energy consumption?
Methodology for indicator calculation
Methodology and frequency of data collection
Data collected annually.
Eurostat definitions and concepts for energy statistics http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_SDDS/en/nrg_quant_esms.htm
Methodology of data manipulation
The primary energy intensity (primary energy consumption per GDP), measures how much energy is required to generate one unit of GDP. Its variation over time reflects the influence of various factors, which include energy efficiency improvements but also changes in the nature if the economic activity (the “economic structure”) or in the structure of the energy mix, changes in lifestyle (more appliances, higher indoor temperature in dwellings, more cars) etc.
Total energy intensity (TEI) is defined as gross/total inland energy consumption (GIEC) divided by gross domestic product (GDP) at constant (2000) prices (i.e. to illustrate trends in economic energy intensity). The coding (used in the Eurostat New Cronos database) and specific components of the indicator are:
- Numerator: 100800 Gross inland consumption (of energy)
- Denominator: B1GM Gross domestic product in millions of euro, chain-linked volumes, reference year 2000 (GDP in PPS is used for cross-country comparisons of energy intensity in a particular year)
Average annual rate of growth calculated using: [(last year / base year) ^ (1 / number of years) –1]*100
GDP for EU-27 is not available in Eurostat before 1995 due to lack of data for some countries such as : Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland and Portugal (1990-1994), Slovakia (1990-91), Germany (1990), Estonia (1990-92), Romania (1990-1995) and Malta (1990-1999). The GDP growth rate published by the World Bank (reference World Development Indicators 2011) were used as an additional data source for filling the gaps before 1995. GDP for EU-27 as a whole and EEA countries has been calculated as a sum.
To compare the situation among countries and make a more realistic comparison, the energy intensity need to be corrected to take into account differences in the general prices level; for that purpose, the GDP should be expressed in purchasing power parities. This is particularly true for new Eastern Member countries where the average price level is much lower than in the EU-15 countries: after adjustment the total energy intensities of these countries is on average twice lower than the values measured with exchange rates, and are more in line with other EU countries.
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 the countries Iceland, Switzerland and Norway. Iceland has not been considered in the analysis due to lack of data after 2006. Table 1 also covers data of the World, United States, China, India, Russia, the Middle East and Africa
Methodology for gap filling
No gap filling is necessary.
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
- Total Primary Energy Supply non European countries (IEA)
- Gross Domestic product at 2000 market prices non European countries
- Gross Domestic product at current prices non European countries
- GDP growth rates used in the estimation of missing Eurostat data (DG ECFIN)
- Energy statistics (Eurostat)
- Annual Macroeconomic Database
Data sources in latest figures
There is no GDP available from Eurostat for the EU-27 before 1995. Moreover, data was not available for a particular year for some EU-27 Member States. The intensity of energy consumption is relative to changes in real GDP. Cross-country comparisons of energy intensity based on real GDP are relevant for trends but not for comparing energy intensity levels in specific years and specific countries. This is why the indicator is expressed as an index. In order to compare the energy intensity between countries for a specific year, two additional columns are included showing energy intensity in purchasing power standards (PPS) and energy intensity per capita. PPS are currency conversion rates that convert to a common currency and equalise the purchasing power of different currencies. They are an optimal unit for benchmarking country performance in a particular year. Energy intensity should therefore always be put in the broader context of the actual fuel mix used to generate the energy.
Data sets uncertainty
Strengths and weaknesses (at data level)
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/cache/ITY_SDDS/en/nrg_quant_esms.htm
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the central aggregate of National Accounts. Some estimates have been necessary using the procedure described in 6. Methodological information related to GDP can be found on Eurostat’s website.
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.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoMihai Florin Tomescu
Frequency of updates
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B – Does it matter?)