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Fossil fuels continue to dominate the electricity mix in 2012, being responsible for almost one half (48%) of all gross electricity generation in the EU28. Nuclear energy sources came second, contributing more than one quarter of all gross electricity generation in 2012 (27%). However, the share of electricity generated from renewable sources is in rapid progression and reached almost one quarter of all gross electricity generation in the EU28 in 2012 (24%), having doubled its share since 1990 (see ENER30 for information on renewable electricity consumption).
Final electricity consumption  increased by 29% in the EU28 since 1990, at an average rate of around 1.2% per year (see ENER16 ). In the EU28, the strongest growth was observed in the services sector (3.0%/year), followed by households (1.4%/year) and industry (0.9%/year). In non-EU EEA countries, the growth in electricity consumption was larger and reached 3.6%/year, driven by the rapid growth in Turkey.
 Final electricity consumption covers the total consumption of electricity by all end-use sectors plus electricity imports and minus exports.
This indicator factsheet is based on data for the period 1990 to 2012. Between 1990 and 2007, annual transport energy consumption in the EEA member countries grew by 38%. However following this year, this trend reversed. Between 2007 and 2012, total energy demand in the EEA-33 transport sector declined by 10.6 %. This is shown in Figure 1 below. Total transport energy consumption for the EEA-33 has increased by 24.4% between 1990 and 2012. Latest estimates suggest that the downward trend in transport energy consumption has continued through 2013, with a further 1% drop in energy consumption.
The shipping sector saw the greatest decline in energy consumption during the recession; bunkers dropped by 10% between 2008 and 2009 alone, with a total decrease of 15% between 2007 and 2012. Energy use for road, aviation and rail transport fell by around 9% over the 2007 to 2012 time period.
Road transport accounts for the largest amount of energy consumption, accounting for 73% of total demand in 2012. Despite a decrease in energy consumption since the recession, total road transport energy consumption in 2012 was still almost 22% higher in the EEA-33 than in 1990. The fraction of road transport fuel that is diesel has continued to increase and in 2012 it amounted to 70%.
In 2012, the share of renewable electricity in gross electricity consumption  in the EU28 was 24.1%. Hydropower accounted for 11% of all electricity generation in 2012, followed by wind (6%), biomass and wastes (3%), solar power (2%), and geothermal and other renewables (2%). Overall, renewable electricity grew at an annual average rate of 4.1% since 1990, and slightly faster (7.1%/year) since 2005.
The EU28 has met its indicative 21% target for renewable electricity in gross electricity consumption by 2010, as specified in the Renewable Electricity Directive (2001/77/EC). At Member State level, 14 EU-countries met their indicative national renewable electricity targets under that Directive.
From 2012, the Renewable Electricity Directive has been repealed by the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC), which establishes binding targets for Member States to meet a certain share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption by 2020 (see ENER 28 ).
 Gross (national) electricity consumption includes the total gross national electricity generation from all fuels (including auto-production), plus electricity imports, minus exports. Auto-production is defined as a natural or legal person generating electricity essentially for his/her own use. Gross electricity generation is measured at the outlet of the main transformers, i.e. it includes consumption in the plant auxiliaries and in transformers.
The share of renewable energy sources in gross inland energy consumption (GIEC) increased in the EU28 from 4.3% in 1990 to 11.0% in 2012  . In 2012, the main contributors to the gross inland consumption of renewable energy were biomass and renewable waste (58%), followed by hydro (16%), wind (10%) and liquid biofuels (9%). The gross inland energy consumption from renewable sources increased at an average annual rate of 4.4% over the period 1990-2012, with a faster growth rate observed since 2005 (6.7%/year). In non-EU EEA countries  the share of renewable in gross inland energy consumption reached 20% in 2012.
 GIEC represents the total quantity of energy necessary to satisfy inland consumption of the geographic entity under consideration. Please note that the share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption (GFEC) is presented in another indicator (see ENER28 ). In contrast to GIEC, GFEC excludes transformation losses in the energy sector.
 Non-EU EEA countries are Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Data for Lichtenstein and Switzerland (for 2012) are missing, hence totals for the non-EU EEA exclude Lichtenstein and Switzerland.
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  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 33 EEA member countries include the 28 European Union Member States together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
The share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption in the EU28 reached 14.1% in 2012, representing 70% of the EU’s 20% renewable energy target for 2020. Renewable energy sources represented 15.6% of gross final energy consumption for heating and cooling, 23.5% of final electricity consumption and 5.1% of transport fuels consumption in 2012.
EEA-33 emissions of sulphur oxides (SO X ) have decreased by 74% between 1990 and 2011. In 2011, the most significant sectoral source of SO X emissions was 'Energy production and distribution' (58% of total emissions), followed by emissions occurring from 'Energy use in industry' (20%) and in the 'Commercial, institutional and households' (15%) sector.
The reduction in emissions since 1990 has been achieved as a result of a combination of measures, including fuel-switching in energy-related sectors away from high-sulphur solid and liquid fuels to low-sulphur fuels such as natural gas, the fitting of flue gas desulphurisation abatement technology in industrial facilities and the impact of European Union directives relating to the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels.
All of the EU-28 Member States have reduced their national SO X emissions below the level of the 2010 emission ceilings set in the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD)  . Emissions in 2011 for the three EEA countries having emission ceilings set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) were also below the level of their respective 2010 ceilings.
Environmental context: Typically, Sulphur dioxide is emitted when fuels or other materials containing sulphur are combusted or oxidised. It is a pollutant which contributes to acid deposition which in turn can lead to changes occurring in soil and water quality. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. SO 2 emissions also aggravate asthma conditions and can reduce lung function and inflame the respiratory tract, and contribute as a secondary particulate pollutant to formation of particulate matter in the atmosphere, an important air pollutant in terms of its adverse impact on human health. Furthermore, the formation of sulphate particles in the atmosphere after its release results in reflection of solar radiation, which leads to net cooling of the atmosphere.
 Emissions data reported by EU member states under NECD is used for comparison with NECD ceilings, and data reported under CLRTAP is used for all other calculations unless otherwise stated.
The efficiency of electricity and heat production from conventional thermal power plants in EU-27countries improved between 1990 and 2010 by 5.8 percentage points (from 45.4% in 1990 to 51.2% in 2010). The non EU EEA countries (exl. Norway  ) show a similar trend with an improvement of 5.6 percentage points (from 45.2% in 1990 to 50.8% in 2010). Between 2005 and 2010, there was a decline in efficiency of electricity and heat production from conventional thermal power plants of 1.1 percentage points (from 52.3% in 2005 to 51.2% in 2010) in the EU-27 because of lower heat production similar to non-EU EEA countries where efficiency declined by 1.3% over the same period.
 Norway, displays efficiencies higher than 100% for thermal generation due to the extensive use of electric boilers for heat production. In the Eurostat statistics, the heat is included in the output, while the electricity input is not. For power plants the consumption of electricity is attributed to the energy sector while partly may be in fact used as input for heat. For these reasons, Norway was excluded from the calculations.
The EU27 is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and it accounts for 76.4 % of primary energy consumption whereas renewables accounted only for 9.8 %. The share of fossil fuels (coal, lignite, oil and natural gas) in gross inland consumption of the EU-27 declined slightly from 83.1 % in 1990 to 76.4 % in 2010.
The EU’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels (gas, solid fuels and oil)  from non-EU countries has remained relatively stable between 2005 and 2010. In 2010 EU-27 imported 53.8 % of its total gross inland energy consumption. Oil imports are the highest and accounted for 58.6 % of total GIEC, followed by gas then solid fuels which accounted for 28.8 % and 12.6 % of total GIEC.
In 2010 only 71.5 % of the total primary energy consumption in the EU-27 reached the end users. Between 1990 and 2010, energy losses in transformation and distribution have slowly declined from 29.2 % to 28.5 %.
The average energy efficiency of conventional thermal electricity and heat production of conventional thermal power stations and district heating plants in the EU-27 improved over the period 1990 and 2010 by 5.1 percentage points to reach 51.2% in 2010. The main increase was seen between 1990 and 2005 with an increase of 7.0 percentage points (from 45.4% in 1990 to 52.3% in 2005). The improvement until 2005 was due to the closure of old inefficient plants, improvements in existing technologies, often combined with a switch from coal power plants to more efficient combined cycle gas-turbines. Between 2005 and 2010, there was a slight fall in efficiency of electricity and heat production from conventional thermal power plants and district heating plants of 1.1 percentage points (from 52.3% in 2005 to 51.2% in 2010) because of lower heat production.
Overview of the energy system in 2010
In 2010 only 71.5 % of the total primary energy consumption in the EU-27 reached end users. Distribution, energy-sector’s own consumption of energy and conversion losses represented 28.5 % of which 5 % resulted from energy consumption by the energy sector.
The EU27 is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels (see ENER 26), and it accounts for 76.4 % of primary energy consumption whereas renewables accounted only for 9.8 %. It is interesting to see that over 65 % total petroleum products in the EU27 after transformation in refineries are those refined in the EU27 originating from indigenous production and imported crude oil, rather than imported petroleum products. Subsequently 340 Mtoe of these petroleum products are exported outside the EU27.
A high proportion of the fossil fuels used in the EU27 in 2010 were imported from outside the EU. Net import accounted for 91 %, 62 % and 39 % of gross inland consumptions of oil, gas and solid fuels.
The high dependency on oil arises as a result of high consumption in the transport sector which is still very dependent on petrol and diesel. Increasing concerns for climate change leading to policies shifting fuel use in the transport sector has led to electricity (15.1 Mtoe) and renewables (13.3 Mtoe) consumption in transport, but these are yet to make a significant contribution (see ENER 16). The other sector where oil is the most dominant fuel is in the non-energy use sector where oil is used for example as lubricants. On the other hand, oil only accounts for a small proportion of the transformation input into power stations  (ENER 38).
Nuclear heat accounts for 44.2 % of transformational input into power stations (excluding CHPs and district heating), followed by coal (24.9 %), natural gas (15.4 %) then renewables (13.5 %). In power stations, during the transformation of the energy into electricity, 58 % of fuel input is lost as conversion losses. Conversion losses are declining in the EU27 as power station efficiencies and electricity generation from renewables increases (see ENER 19 and 38). As for wind, hydro and solar PV, electricity is the primary energy form of energy so there are no associated conversion losses. The overall % of energy lost to conversion losses from electricity generation can also decrease if the % of electricity generated from CHPs increases. In 2010, conversion losses from CHPs were much less than power stations (33 %), just over 20 % of transformation output of electricity was from CHPs.
In terms of consumption, industries consumed the highest amount of electricity, but only slightly more than domestic and other final consumers (which includes services sector) (ENER 16). Following conversion losses in transformation plants, further losses of electricity occur from distribution and consumption in the energy industry which accounts for (41.2 Mtoe or 14.5 % of electricity available for consumption). In 2010, net import of electricity was minimal (0.3 Mtoe).
Conversion efficiencies of CHPs are higher than in power stations because the heat produced is also consumed as useful energy. In the EU27, heat is also generated from district heating plants in certain countries and the overall heat consumed from CHPs and district heating plants in 2010 was 62.8 Mtoe. Gas accounts for the highest proportion of fuel going into district heating plants (46 %).
The largest consumer of gas in 2010 was the domestic sector (119.0 Mtoe) followed by industries (84.7 Mtoe) (see ENER 16) whereas for coal, the largest consumers are electricity generation plants (power stations and CHPs). Coal and gas are also input fuels for other transformation plants which produce manufactured fuels.
 Definitions are provided in the meta data. The Gross Inland Energy Consumption does not include bunkers.
 See ‘Methodology and assumptions used for the Sankey diagram’ for definitions of components that make up power stations.
Over the period 1990-2010, energy efficiency increased by 20% in EU-27 countries at an annual average rate of 1.1%/year, driven by improvements in the industrial sector (1.7%/year) and households (1.6%/year).
Between 1990 and 2010, the final energy consumption in the EU-27 increased by 7.1% (10.2% in EEA countries) at an annual average rate of 0.3% (0.5% for EEA countries).The final energy consumption in EU-27 decreased by 3.2% between 2005 and 2010 (2.1% in EEA countries). The services sector was the sector with the fastest growing energy consumption (41.4% over the period 1990-2010 and 12.2% over the period 2005-2010). Final energy consumption in the transport sector in 2010 was 29.8% higher than 1990 levels but the sector registered a 0.5 % fall in energy consumption between 2009 and 2010 despite signs of mild economic recovery. Over the same period (1990-2010), household final energy consumption increased by 12.4% while final consumption in industry fell by 20.5%. Overall, in the last year, final energy consumption in EU-27 increased, but still remained below the level in 2006 (the year where energy consumption peaked in Europe). On average, one person in the EEA countries used 2.2 tonnes of oil equivalent to meet their energy needs in 2010.
Over the period 1990-2010, the EU-27 final energy intensity has decreased by 25% at an annual average rate of 1.4%/year. Since 2005, the reduction was slightly higher (1.5%/year), with a stronger decoupling in the agriculture and industrial sectors where the energy intensity has decreased by 2.6%/year and 2.1%/year respectively. In the service and transport sectors the final energy consumption intensities have decreased by 1.3%/year and 0.9%/year since 2005. In the household sector, the final energy consumption per capita was in 2010 almost at the same level as in 2005, as result of counterbalancing effects: larger and more numerous dwellings, greater ownership of electrical appliances on the one hand and energy efficiency improvements on the other hand. Over the period 1990-2010, the final energy intensity in non-EU EEA countries has decreased by 8.5% at an annual average growth rate of 0.4%/year.
The number of heating degree days (HDD) has decreased by an average of 16 per year since 1980. This helps reduce the demand for heating, particularly in northern and north-western Europe.
Climate change will affect future energy and electricity demand. Climate change is not expected to change total energy demand in Europe substantially across Europe, but there may be significant seasonal effects, with large regional differences.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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