Energy intensity

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-7-en
Also known as: CSI 028 , ENER 017
expired Created 10 Oct 2014 Published 24 Nov 2014 Last modified 05 Nov 2015, 03:59 PM
Note: new version is available!
Topics: ,
This content has been archived on 05 Nov 2015, reason: Other (New version data-and-maps/indicators/total-primary-energy-intensity-2/assessment was published)
Between 1990 and 2012, energy intensity (the ratio of gross inland energy consumption and GDP) in the EU28 decreased by 1.7% per year. In 2012, the energy intensity in the EU28 was 31% below the 1990 level. During this period, the rate of decrease of energy intensity in the EU28 has been rather constant. The period 1990-2005 is characterised by a relatively high economic growth and a more modest growth of gross inland energy consumption. The period 2005-2012 is characterised by a much smaller economic growth and decreasing gross inland energy consumption. The resulting rate of decrease of energy intensity is rather similar in these periods. All EEA member countries [1] show a decrease of energy intensity between 2005 and 2012, except for Greece (annually +2.0%), Iceland (annually +6.4%), Norway (annually +0.4%) and Turkey (annually +1.1%). Largest decreases were observed in Central European countries (e.g. Slovakia, Lithuania and Romania) because of changes in their economic structure. [1] The 33 EEA member countries include the 28 European Union Member States together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

Key messages

Between 1990 and 2012, energy intensity (the ratio of gross inland energy consumption and GDP) in the EU28 decreased by 1.7% per year. In 2012, the energy intensity in the EU28 was 31% below the 1990 level.

During this period, the rate of decrease of energy intensity in the EU28 has been rather constant. The period 1990-2005 is characterised by a relatively high economic growth and a more modest growth of gross inland energy consumption. The period 2005-2012 is characterised by a much smaller economic growth and decreasing gross inland energy consumption. The resulting rate of decrease of energy intensity is rather similar in these periods.

All EEA member countries[1] show a decrease of energy intensity between 2005 and 2012, except for Greece (annually +2.0%), Iceland (annually +6.4%), Norway (annually +0.4%) and Turkey (annually +1.1%). Largest decreases were observed in Central European countries (e.g. Slovakia, Lithuania and Romania) because of changes in their economic structure.


[1] The 33 EEA member countries include the 28 European Union Member States together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

Has there been an absolute decoupling in Europe between economic growth and energy consumption?

Total energy intensity, relative energy intensity (as PPS) and per capita consumption

Table
Data sources: Explore chart interactively

Energy intensity in the EU28

  • Since the 2005-2006 peak in the EU28 gross inland energy consumption, there has been an absolute decoupling between economic growth and gross inland energy consumption. In 2012, gross inland energy consumption in the EU28 was 7.7% lower than in 2005, while the economy grew by 5.4% during this period. Between 1990 and 2005, a relative decoupling occurred in the EU28.
  • Gross inland energy consumption in the EU28 in 2012 was at almost the same level as in 1990 (see ENER 26), while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measured in 2005 constant prices grew by 1.8%/year. As a consequence, energy intensity in the EU28 fell by 1.7% per year during this period (see Figure 1).
  • Between 2005 and 2012, gross inland energy consumption in EU28 decreased by 1.1%/year while GDP increased by 0.8%/year. As a consequence, energy intensity in the EU28 decreased by 1.9%/year (on average) during this period. 
  • In 2012, energy intensity in the EU28 was 31% below the 1990 level. About one-third of this reduction was observed between 1996 and 2000, a period characterised by a strong economic growth and a more modest energy consumption. Average per capita gross inland energy consumption in the EU28 was 3.3 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) in 2012 (see Figure 2 (table)).
  • In the EU28, the observed reduction of energy intensity has been influenced by improvements in energy efficiency, both for final users and for power generation, by the increase of renewable energy in the power mix and by structural changes within the economy. The latter included an increase in the share of services in the GDP and a shift within the industrial sectors from energy intensive industries towards less energy intensive industries that have a higher value added.


Energy intensity in EEA Member Countries

  • All European Environment Agency (EEA) member countries show a decrease of energy intensity between 2005 and 2012, except for Greece (annually +2.0%), Iceland (annually +6.4%), Norway (annually +0.4%) and Turkey (annually +1.1%). Largest decreases were observed in central European countries (e.g., Slovakia, Lithuania and Romania) because of changes in their economic structure. The increase of energy intensity in Iceland is related to a strong increase in electricity consumption by the aluminium industry. In Turkey, both GDP and gross inland energy consumption strongly increased in this period. Gross inland energy consumption increased even faster than GDP, such that energy intensity increased. In contrast, in Greece both GDP and gross inland energy consumption decreased strongly. GDP decreased faster than gross inland energy consumption, such that energy intensity increased.
  • In 2012, significant differences in energy intensity (measured in purchasing power standards relative to the EU28 average) were observed between the EU Member States. The highest energy intensity was observed in Estonia, Finland, Bulgaria and Czech Republic. The lowest energy intensity was observed in Ireland, Malta, Denmark (see Figure 2 (table) and also ENER 16).
  • In 2012, the lowest values for gross inland energy consumption per capita are observed in Turkey, Romania and Croatia (about 2 TOE/capita in 2012 or less), while the highest values are observed in Iceland (18.3), Luxemburg (8.5) TOE/capita), Finland (6.3 TOE/capita), Norway (6.1 TOE/capita) and Sweden (5.3 TOE/capita).

Indicator specification and metadata

Indicator definition

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 Energy Consumption (GIEC) 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 2005.

Units

Gross inland energy consumption is measured in 1000 tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe) and GDP in million Euro at 2005 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 Figure 2 (table) 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

Context description

  • The Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU, and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC puts forward an EU-wide 20 % energy savings target for 2020, measured against primary energy consumption (i.e. gross inland energy consumption minus non-energy uses). The Directive also transforms certain aspects of the Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 into binding measures, with the objective to make a significant contribution to meeting the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency target.
  • The Energy Roadmap 2050: 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.
  • A resource-efficient Europe – Flagship initiative of the Europe 2020 Strategy (COM(2011) 21)presents a strategic framework that should deliver a more sustainable use of natural resources and the shift towards resource-efficient, low-carbon growth in Europe
  • The Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 (COM(2011) 109 final) proposes additional measures to achieve the 20% primary energy saving target by 2020.
  • The Energy 2020 strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy (COM(2010) 639 final), which identifies energy efficiency as a key priority.
  • The Council adopted on 6 April 2009 the climate-energy legislative package containing measures to fight climate change and promote renewable energy. The measures aim to achieve at EU level a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases (compared to 1990 levels) and a 20% share of renewable energy in the EU's gross final 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 communityDirective 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)
  • The 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
  • The 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
  • The Second Strategic Energy Review (COM(2008) 781 final) reviewsshort, medium and long term targets on EU energy security.
  • The EU Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (COM (2006)545 final) aims to boost the cost-effective and efficient use of energy in the EU. One of the priority areas is making power generation and distribution more efficient.

References

EU (2009) Climate action and renewable energy package (CARE Package) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/climate_action.htm
EC, Energy efficiency measures http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/index_en.htm
COM(2011) 112 final: A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050
COM(2011) 109 final: Energy Efficiency Plan 2011
COM(2010) 639 final: Energy 2020 – A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy
COM(2008) 781 final - Second Strategic Energy Review
COM(2006) 545 final - Action Plan for Energy Efficiency

Targets

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 primary energy consumption[1] by 2020. Member States are requested to set indicative targets. It is up to the Member States whether they base their targets on primary energy consumption, final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity.


[1] Under Directive 2012/27/EU primary energy consumption is defined as gross inland energy consumption minus non-energy uses.

Related policy documents

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

 Technical information

  1. Data source:
    Gross inland energy consumption, Gross domestic product: Eurostat (historical data) http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/
    GDP growth rate non EEA-countries: World Bank (World Development Indicators 2011)  http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators
    Total Primary Energy Supply non- EEA countries: IEA http://data.iea.org/IEASTORE/DEFAULT.ASP
  2. Description of data / Indicator definition:
    Energy intensity is the ratio between the gross inland consumption of energy (or total energy consumption) 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 2005 (2000, for all assessments prior to 2014). 
    Units: Gross inland energy consumption is measured in 1000 tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe) and GDP in million Euro at 2005 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 to show the actual energy intensity in GDP in purchasing power standards for the latest available year, and also the energy intensity in terms of consumption per capita.
  3. Geographical coverage:
    The EEA member countries. These are the 28 European Union Member States and Turkey, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway. Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not or only partly covered in this factsheet due to lack of data for recent years.
  4. Temporal coverage: 1990-2012
  5. 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 energy intensity (gross inland 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.
  6. Methodology and frequency of data collection:
    Energy intensity (EI) is defined as gross inland energy consumption (GIEC) divided by gross domestic product (GDP) at constant (2005) prices (i.e. to illustrate trends in economic energy intensity). The coding (used in the Eurostat database) and specific components of the indicator are:
    Numerator: 100900 Gross inland consumption (of energy).
    Denominator: B1GM Gross domestic product in millions of euro, chain-linked volumes, reference year 2005 (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 EU28 is not available in Eurostat before 1995 due to lack of data for some countries. The GDP growth rate published by the World Bank (reference World Development Indicators 2012) were used as an additional data source for filling the gaps before 1995. GDP for EU28 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 lower than in the EU-15 countries: after adjustment the energy intensities of these countries is almost twice lower, on average, than the values measured with exchange rates, and are more in line with other EU countries.

    Qualitative information
  7. 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. Methodological information related to GDP can be found on Eurostat’s website.
  8. Reliability, accuracy, robustness, uncertainty (at data level):
    Indicator uncertainty (historic data):
    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. 
  9. Overall scoring – historical data (1 = no major problems, 3 = major reservations):
    Relevance: 1
    Accuracy: 1
    Comparability over time: 1
    Comparability over space: 1



Methodology for gap filling

No gap filling is necessary.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

There is no GDP available from Eurostat for the EU-28 before 1995. Moreover, data was not available for a particular year for some EU-28 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.

Rationale uncertainty

 

Data sources

Generic metadata

Topics:

Energy Energy (Primary topic)

Tags:
gdp | energy | soer2015 european | soer2015
DPSIR: Response
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 028
  • ENER 017
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2012
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Mihai Florin Tomescu

EEA Management Plan

2013 2.8.1 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled once per year
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100