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Since 2000, the EU28 final energy intensity has decreased by 16% at an annual average rate of 2%/year. Since 2005, final energy intensity decreased by 11.9% at an annual rate of 1.8%/year, showing an absolute decoupling, between economic growth and final energy consumption. Since 2005, final energy intensity in industry, services and agriculture sectors decreased by 2.5%/year, 2.0%/year and 1.8%/year, respectively. In the transport sector the final energy intensity has decreased by 1.5%/year since 2005. In the household sector the final energy intensity decreased by 1.1%/year since 2005. Since 2000, the final energy intensity in non-EU EEA countries has decreased by 14% at an annual average rate of 2%/year. The annual decrease is slightly smaller than in the EU-28 due to an increase of the industry energy intensity in Turkey and Iceland.
Between 1990 and 2012 the efficiency of electricity and heat production in public conventional thermal power plants in the EU28 improved from 42.2% in 1990 to 47.6% in 2012. In the non-EU EEA countries, this efficiency improved from 34.4% in 1990 to 42.1% in 2012. Between 2005 and 2012, the efficiency in public conventional thermal power plants stabilized more or less in both the EU28 and the non-EU EEA countries. An efficiency improvement in the EU28 of about 2 percentage points between 2005 and 2010 is attributed to an increased use of natural gas. Between 2010 an 2012 the efficiency in the EU28 dropped by the same amount, due to increased use of coal in stead of gas in combination with the use of existing, low efficiency coal plants.
The efficiency of electricity and heat production from autoproducers conventional thermal power plants in the EU and non-EU EEA countries decreased between 2005 and 2012 by about 5 percentage points, from about 60% in 2005 to about 55% in 2012.
Over the period 1990-2012, final energy efficiency increased by 25% in EU28 countries at an annual average rate of 1.3%/year, driven by improvements in the industrial sector (1.7%/year) and households (1.5%/year). Half of the efficiency gains achieved through technological innovation in the household sector have been offset by increasing number of electrical appliances and larger homes. One third of total savings in space heating in the residential sector is due to new building codes, since a building built in 2012 consumed approximately 40% less energy than one built in 1990.
Energy Trends in Europe
In 2012, the final energy consumption reached 1,104 Mtoe at EU-level (see also ENER 16). Buildings (households and services) consumed almost 40% of final energy consumption in 2012 (of which 26% for households), transport 32% (+6 points compared to 1990) followed by industry with 26% (-8 points compared to 1990) and agriculture with 2%.
The EU28 is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, which accounted in 2012 for 74.6% of the total gross inland energy consumption compared to renewables at only 11%. The share of fossil fuels (gas, solid fuels and oil)  in the total gross inland energy consumption of the EU28 declined from 83.0% in 1990 to 74.6% in 2012. at an annual rate of 0.3 % per year. Between 2005 and 2012, the share of fossil fuels in gross inland energy consumption decreased slightly faster at 0.6 % per year.
The EU’s dependence on imports of fossil fuels from non-EU countries remained relatively stable between 2005 and 2012. In 2012, EU28 net import of fossil fuels was 53.4% of its total gross inland energy consumption with 58.2% for oil, 28.3% for gas and 13.6% for solid fuels.
In 2012 only 71.4% of the total gross inland energy consumption in the EU28 reached the end users. Between 1990 and 2012, energy losses in transformation and distribution were about 29% of total gross inland energy consumption and did not show a significant trend.
The average efficiency of electricity and heat production of conventional thermal power stations and district heating plants in the EU28 improved over the period 1990 and 2012 by 4.8 percentage points to reach 49.4% in 2012. The main increase was seen between 1990 and 2010 with an increase of 6.3 percentage points (from 44.6% in 1990 to 50.9% in 2010). The improvement before 2010 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 2010 and 2012, there was a slight fall in the efficiency of electricity and heat production from conventional thermal power plants and district heating plants of 1.5 percentage points (from 50.9% in 2010 to 49.4% in 2012) because of increased power production from coal and lignite and due to lower heat production.
 Definitions are provided in the meta data.
Primary energy consumption in EU 28 in 2012 was almost the same as in 1990 and amounted to 1585 Mtoe. Between 2005-2012, primary energy consumption in the EU28 decreased by 7.3% particularly due to the economic recession and energy efficiency improvements.
Primary energy consumption in the non-EU EEA countries doubled from 71 Mtoe in 1990 to 146 Mtoe in 2012. The main reason for the difference in the trend for this group of countries 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 EU28, but their share declined from 82.1% in 1990 to 73.9% in 2012. The share of renewable energy sources more than doubled over the period, from 4.5% in 1990 to 11.6% in 2012, increasing at an average annual rate of 4.4%/year. The share of nuclear energy in gross inland energy consumption increased slightly from 13.1% in 1990 to 14.4% in 2012.
Over the period 1990 and 2012 final energy consumption in EU28 increased by 2.3% (6.5% in EEA countries). Between 2005 and 2012 the final energy consumption in the EU28 decreased by 7.1% (5.0% in EEA countries). The services sector is the only sector where the energy consumption increased by 3.5% over the period 2005-2012. B etween 2005 and 2012, t he energy consumption dropped by 14% in industry, 5.1% in transport and 4% in households. The implementation of energy efficiency policies and the economic recession played an important part in the reduction of energy consumption. On average, each person in the EEA countries used 2.1 tonnes of oil equivalent to meet their energy needs in 2012.
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 that contributes to acid deposition, which, in turn, can lead to changes 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. They also contribute, as a secondary particulate pollutant, to the 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 following the release of SO 2 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 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 07 May 2015, 01:47 AM
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