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Energy intensity

Indicator Assessment Created 07 Dec 2012 Published 28 Feb 2013 Last modified 04 Sep 2015, 07:00 PM
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Topics: ,
Indicator codes: CSI 028 , ENER 017

Key messages

Total primary energy intensity in the EU-27 decreased by 1.5% per year from 1990 to 2010. In 2010, the total primary energy intensity in the EU-27 was 26% below the 1990 level.

In 2010, the economic growth of the EU-27 rebounded (+2.2% compared to 2009) and energy consumption increased even more rapidly (+3.3% compared to 2009). As a consequence, total primary energy intensity increased in 2010 for the first time since 2003 (+1.1%).

Over the period 2005-2010, the primary energy intensity decreased by 1.6%/year in the EU-27, but this includes the effect of the significant reduction in primary energy consumption and GDP during 2009.

In non-EU EEA countries, the primary energy intensity was in 2010 roughly at the same level as in 1990; however, between 2005 and 2010, the primary energy intensity increased by 1.5%/year in these countries.

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

Note: Total energy intensity (index 1995=100), relative energy intensity (as PPS) and per capita consumption

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Total primary energy consumption in the EU-27 grew at an average annual rate of 0.3% over the period from 1990 to 2010 (see ENER 26), while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in constant prices grew at an average annual rate of 1.8%. As a result, total energy intensity in the EU-27 fell at an average rate of 1.5% per year during the same period (see Figure 1).

From 2005 to 2010, the total primary energy consumption in EU-27 decreased on average by 0.7%/year while GDP increased by 0.9%/year; as a consequence, the energy intensity decreased by 1.6%/year during this period, i.e. twice slower than over 1996-2000. Since 2005, and especially since 2009, trends have been quite erratic. 

In 2010, the total primary energy intensity of the EU-27 was 26% below the 1990 level. About half of this reduction was observed between 1996 and 2000 period characterised by a strong economic growth and a rather  tamed energy consumption. In 2010, the economic growth rebounded in the EU-27 (+2.2%compared to 2009) with energy consumption increasing even more rapidly (+3.3% compared to 2009 levels). As a consequence, total primary energy intensity increased for the first time since 2003 (+1.1%).

In non-EU EEA countries, the primary energy intensity in 2010 was roughly at the same level as in 1990. It decreased significantly during the period 1997-2005 (by 1.1%/year) and has increased since then (by 1.5%/year).

The reduction of total energy intensity has been influenced both by improvements in energy efficiency (for final users and for power generation), shift to renewables in the power mix and structural changes within the economy. The latter included a shift from industry towards services and a shift within the industrial sector from energy intensive industries towards higher value added less energy intensive industries.

In 2010, there were significant differences in primary energy intensity (measured in purchasing power standards relative to the EU-27) among the EU-27 Member States. The highest primary energy intensity was observed in Estonia, Finland, Bulgaria and Czech Republic, due to the presence of energy intensive industries (e.g. pulp and paper in Finland, heavy machinery and iron and steel industry in Czech Republic), the energy mix in the country (Estonia).The lowest primary energy intensity was observed in Malta, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and UK - partly explained by a milder climate for southern countries (e.g. Malta, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal), and a larger share of the services sector and small industry sector (e.g. UK, Ireland or Denmark) (see Table 1 and also ENER 16).

During the period 1990-2010, primary energy intensity decreased in all EEA countries. Largest decreases were observed in eastern countries (Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Latvia) because of changes in their economic structure.

In 2010, twenty countries experienced a rise in their energy intensity (by more than 4% in Austria, the Netherlands, Latvia, Sweden, Estonia and Norway).

Per capita gross primary energy consumption was 3.5 toe for EU-27 in 2010 and 3.3 toe in EEA countries (see Table 1). The lowest values are observed in Latvia, Romania and Turkey (less than 2 toe/capita in 2010).

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

  • 443/2009
    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.
  • 2008/101/EC
    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
  • 2008/c 82/01
    Community guidelines on state aid for environmental protection (2008/c 82/01)
  • 2009/28/EC
    Directive 2009/28/ec of the European parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources
  • 2009/29/ec
    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.
  • 2009/31/EC
    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.
  • COM(2006) 545
    Action Plan for Energy Efficiency
  • COM(2008) 781
    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) 21
    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
     
  • Directive 2012/27/eu
    DIRECTIVE 2012/27/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC
  • 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.

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 | energy consumption | energy intensity
DPSIR: Response
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 028
  • ENER 017
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2012
Geographic coverage:
Africa, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Earth, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Middle East, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Mihai Florin Tomescu

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2012 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