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Between 1990 and 2013, final energy efficiency increased by 25 % in the EU-28 countries, at an annual average rate of 1.2 % per year. This increase was driven by improvements in the industrial sector (1.9 % per year) and households (1.6 % per year). The rate of improvement was lower in the transport sector (0.9 % per year) and even less in the service sector (0.4 % per year). Half of the efficiency gains achieved through technological innovations in the household sector were offset by the increasing number of electrical appliances in use and larger homes.
The consumption of renewable energy continued to increase in 2013. The share of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption in the EU-28 countries reached 15 % in 2013, representing 75 % of the EU's 20 % renewable energy target for 2020. Renewable energy contributed 16.5 % of gross final energy consumption for heating and cooling, 25.4 % of final electricity consumption and 5.4 % of transport fuels consumption in 2013.
In 2013, 25 Member States (i.e. all except Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) met or exceeded their indicative targets set under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), while 21 Member States (i.e. all except Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) exceeded the indicative trajectories set in their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs).
In 2013, Bulgaria, Estonia and Sweden managed to reach their binding renewable energy share targets for 2020 set under the RED.
The annual energy consumption of transport in the EEA-33 grew by 38 % between 1990 and 2007. However the impacts of the economic recession caused a subsequent decline in transport demand. Between 2007 and 2013, energy demand decreased by 9 %. Overall, between 1990 and 2013, there was a 25 % net growth in the energy consumption of transport in the EEA-33.
The shipping sector saw the greatest decline in energy consumption during the economic recession; it dropped by 10 % between 2008 and 2009 alone, with a total decrease of 20 % between 2007 and 2013. Total energy use for road, aviation and rail transport fell by 7% between 2007 and 2013.
Road transport accounts for the largest share of energy consumption, with 74 % of the total EEA-33 demand in 2013. Despite a decrease in energy consumption since the recession, road transport energy consumption in 2013 was still 23 % higher than in 1990. The fraction of diesel used in road transport has continued to increase, amounting to 71% of total fuel sales in 2013 .
Fossil fuels continued to dominate the electricity mix in 2013, being responsible for close to one half (45%) of all gross electricity generation in the EU-28, but their share has decreased by 20% since 1990. In contrast, for the first time, more electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2013 than from nuclear sources or from coal and lignite. The share of electricity generated from renewable sources is growing rapidly and reached more than one quarter of all gross electricity generation in the EU-28 in 2013 (27%), twice as much as in 1990. Nuclear energy sources contribute more than one quarter of all gross electricity generation in 2013 as well (27%).
Final electricity consumption ( the total consumption of electricity by all end-use sectors plus electricity imports and minus exports ) has increased by 28% in the EU-28 since 1990, at an average rate of around 1.1% per year (see ENER 016). In the EU-28, the strongest growth was observed in the services sector (2.8% per year), followed by households (1.6% per year).
With regard to the non-EU EEA countries, between 1990 and 2013 electricity generation increased by an average of 6.4% per year in Turkey, and 10% per year in Norway.
The EU-28 is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, but it is decarbonising. Fossil fuels (gas, solid fuels and oil) accounted for 73.8% of the total gross inland energy consumption in 2013 (83% in 1990), while renewables accounted for just 11.8%. Between 1990 and 2013, the share of fossil fuels in the total gross inland energy consumption of the EU-28 decreased at an annual rate of 0.4% per year (0.6% per year between 2005 and 2013).
The efficiency of conventional thermal power plants has also improved from 42.2% in 1990 to 48% in 2013. In 2013, only 72.3% of the total gross inland energy consumption in the EU-28 reached the end users. Between 1990 and 2013, energy losses in transformation and distribution were about 27.7% of total gross inland energy consumption and did not show a significant trend.
The EU-28 is increasingly relying on imported fossil fuels from non-EU countries. The share of net imported fossil fuels in total gross inland energy consumption increased from 44% in 1990 to 53.2% in 2013. The EU’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels from non-EU countries remained relatively stable between 2005 and 2013. In 2013, 58% of total net imports was oil, 28% gas and 14% solid fuels.
Between 1990 and 2013, energy intensity (the ratio of gross inland energy consumption and GDP) decreased by 1.7% per year in the EU28 countries and by 1.6% per year in the EEA countries. In 2013, energy intensity was 32% below the 1990 level in the EU28 and 30% below in the EEA countries.
During this period, the rate of decrease of energy intensity in the EU28 has been rather constant. The period 1990-2005 is characterised by relatively high economic growth and the more modest growth of gross inland energy consumption. The period 2005-2013 is characterised by 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 2013, except for Norway (annually +1.6%), Estonia (+0.3%) and Turkey (annually +0.3%). The largest decreases were observed in central European countries (e.g. Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia) 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.
Between 1990 and 2013, final energy consumption in the EU28 increased by 2.2%. Between 2005 and 2013, final energy consumption decreased by 7.0% in the EU28. It was a result of decreased final energy consumption in industry, transport and households sectors, where final energy consumption dropped by 15.4%, 5.7% and 3.2%, respectively. In contrast, the services sector was the only sector where energy consumption increased, by a figure of 5.7% over the same period. The decrease in final energy consumption since 2005 was influenced by economic performance, structural changes in various end-use sectors, in particular industry, improvements in end-use efficiency and lower heat consumption due to favourable climatic conditions. In 2013, the EU28 was on track to meet its 2020 target for final energy consumption. Early estimates suggest that final energy consumption decreased by a further 3.4% in 2014 compared to 2013.
Final energy consumption in EEA countries increased by 6.2% between 1990 and 2013 and t his difference is caused by the increased energy consumption in Turkey (115%) and Norway (17%). B etween 2005 and 2013, final energy consumption in EEA countries decreased by 5.0% and the largest contributor of this decrease was industry sector (13.1%).
On average, each person in the EEA countries used 2.0 tonnes of oil equivalent to meet their energy needs in 2013.
In 2013, primary energy consumption in the EU28 countries was almost the same as in 1990 and amounted to 1567 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). Between 2005 and 2013, primary energy consumption in the EU28 countries decreased by 8.3% due, in particular, to the economic recession, climatic conditions and energy efficiency improvements. Based on EEA preliminary estimates, in 2014 EU28 primary energy consumption continued to decrease by 3.3% compared to 2013.
Primary energy consumption in the non-EU EEA countries doubled from 69 Mtoe in 1990 to 143 Mtoe in 2013. The main reason for the difference in the trend for these countries compared to the EU-28 was the large increase in primary energy consumption in Turkey and, to a lesser extent, in Norway.
Fossil fuels (including non-renewable waste) continued to dominate primary energy consumption in the EU28, but their share declined from 82.1% in 1990 to 72.9% in 2013. The share of renewable energy sources more than doubled over the same period, from 4.5% in 1990 to 12.6% in 2013, increasing at an average annual rate of 4.5% per year. The share of nuclear energy in gross inland energy consumption increased slightly from 13.1% in 1990 to 14.4% in 2013.
The efficiency of electricity and heat production in public conventional thermal power plants in the EU28 countries increased from 42.2% in 1990 to 48.0% in 2013. In the non-EU EEA countries, efficiency increased from 34.7% in 1990 to 44.4% in 2013. Between 2005 and 2013, the efficiency of public conventional thermal power plants more or less stabilised in both the EU28 and the non-EU EEA countries.
The efficiency of electricity and heat production from autoproducer conventional thermal power plants in the EU and non-EU EEA countries decreased by about 5 percentage points, from about 60% in 2005 to about 55% in 2013.
Over the 1990-2013 period, EU28 final energy intensity decreased by 30.5% at an annual average rate of 1.6% per year. Since 2005, final energy intensity has decreased by 12% at an annual rate of 1.6% per year, resulting in an absolute decoupling between economic growth and final energy consumption. In the transport sector, final energy intensity decreased by 1.4% per year since 2005. Final energy intensity in industry, agriculture, and services and other sectors decreased by 2.3% per year, 1.6% per year and 1.0% per year, respectively, since 2005. In the household sector, final energy intensity decreased by 0.7% per year over the same period.
Between 1990 and 2013, final energy intensity in non-EU EEA countries also decreased; by 33.2% in Norway and 1.1% in Turkey. The decrease in Turkey is much smaller than in the EU28 due to an increase of industry energy intensity.
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.
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.
PDF generated on 08 Feb 2016, 08:55 AM
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