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Total primary energy intensity (CSI 028/ENER 017) - Assessment published Mar 2007

Indicator Assessment Created 20 Feb 2007 Published 23 Mar 2007 Last modified 07 Jul 2011, 02:50 PM
Topics: ,

Generic metadata


Energy Energy (Primary topic)

energy | csi
DPSIR: Response
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 028
  • ENER 017
Geographic coverage:

Key policy question: Has there been a complete decoupling in Europe between economic growth and energy consumption?

Key messages

Economic growth has required less additional energy consumption over the 1990s, although total energy consumption is still increasing. However, since 2000 the rate of decrease in energy intensity has slowed, remaining almost stable to 2004. This was due to a slowdown in the rate of GDP growth, while energy consumption continued to rise strongly.

Total energy intensity in the EU-25 during 1990-2004, 1990=100

Note: Note: Some estimates have been necessary in order to compute the EU-25 GDP index in 1990

Data source:

European Environment Agency and Eurostat

Downloads and more info

Total energy intensity 1995-2004 (1995=100) and total energy intensity in 2004 relative to EU-25 (EU-25=100)

Note: The year for the reference index value is 1995 because GDP was not available for all EU countries in 1990

Data source:

European Environment Agency and Eurostat

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

Total energy consumption in the EU-25 grew at an annual rate of just over 0.8 % over the period from 1990 to 2004, while Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 2.1 % during the same period. As a result, total energy intensity in the EU-25 fell at an average rate of -1.2 % per year. Despite this relative decoupling, total energy consumption has increased by 12.0 % overall in the period 1990-2004. Energy intensity declined over 1990-2000 (and continuously during 1996-2000) but has remained broadly stable since then.

The reduction of total energy intensity has been influenced both by improvements in energy efficiency and structural changes within the economy. The latter included a shift from industry towards services, which are typically less energy intensive, a shift within the industrial sector from energy intensive industries towards higher value added, less energy intensive industries , and one-off changes in some Member States (e.g. most new Member States as well as Luxembourg and Germany). Furthermore, improvements in the efficiency of power generation as well as in the intensity in some end-use sectors (industry and services) contributed to the reduced overall energy intensity.

There are significant differences in total energy intensity within the EU-25 Member States, with the highest 'economic' intensities (i.e. intensities in terms of GDP) in Estonia, Finland and Slovakia and the lowest in Ireland, Italy and Denmark (when compared at Purchasing Power Standards). Total energy intensity in the new EU-10 Member States is on average still around 1.4 times higher than in the pre-2004 EU-15 Member States, despite a converging trend.

Energy intensity is a measure of total energy consumption in relation to economic activity. Total energy consumption by fuel (see relevant core set indicator) is needed in addition for understanding the resulting pressures on the environment, since these pressures are very different for the various fuels and the use of renewable energy sources, with relatively low environmental pressures, in total energy consumption varies widely across EU countries. Therefore, comparing energy intensities across countries has to be put in the wider context of the fuel mix used in the production of the energy needs of a country.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

User not found: pastocin


EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)


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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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