Indicator Assessment

Primary and final energy consumption in Europe

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-16-en
  Also known as: ENER 016
Published 18 Dec 2020 Last modified 18 Dec 2020
1 min read

The EU is struggling to reduce its energy consumption and is at risk of not meeting its 2020 energy efficiency target. In 2019, while primary energy consumption (for all energy uses, including transformation into electricity or heat) dropped for the second consecutive year, final energy consumption (by end users) remained stable at its highest level since 2010. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to significantly reduce energy consumption in 2020. However, substantial changes in the energy system will be necessary to achieve the EU’s energy objectives and climate neutrality by 2050.

Primary and final energy consumption in the European Union

Data sources:
Data sources:

Final energy consumption (FEC)1 in the 27 EU Member States remained largely stable between 2018 and 2019, according to early EEA estimates (EEA, 2020). The FEC value reached in 2019 (990 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe)) was the highest in almost a decade, and far from the minimum achieved in 2014. The recent plateau, however, is an improvement on the rapid growth seen between 2014 and 2017.

The estimated reduction in FEC in industry (3.6 Mtoe) in 2019 was outweighed by the increase in FEC in the transport sector (4.4 Mtoe), similar to the pattern observed throughout the time series. Energy efficiency measures, combined with a shift towards a more service-oriented economy, are driving a decline in consumption in industry. In buildings, energy efficiency improvements outweigh the increasing number of appliances and increasing floor areas. However, increasing energy consumption in the transport sector is slowing down overall progress.

Primary energy consumption (PEC)1 shows a similar long-term trend to FEC, with the important difference of a downwards trend in the last 2 years. Between 2018 and 2019, PEC decreased by 1.3 %, driven by a substantial drop of 17 % in the consumption of solid fossil fuels. The replacement of fossil fuels by renewables in electricity generation can reduce PEC, and the share of renewable energy in EU energy consumption has doubled since 2005. Various other factors have influenced the demand for primary energy, such as energy saving measures, transformation improvements, economic activity and changing climate conditions.

The energy consumption trends suggest that the EU will not meet its energy efficiency targets. PEC in 2019 was estimated to be 3.8 % above the 2020 target, and FEC 3.4 % above. However, measures adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have had a profound effect on the European economy, and will probably result in a reduction in energy consumption for 2020. Nonetheless, it is still uncertain if the EU will meet its energy efficiency target of a 20 % decrease in energy consumption compared with projected levels by 2020. Moreover, COVID-related reductions are likely to be short lived unless backed by structural changes. Member States need to make more effort to curb energy consumption if the EU is to meet its 32.5 % target by 2030 and the overall goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

1) FEC and PEC: see the indicator definition in the Supporting information section for full definitions.

Energy consumption of EU Member States and their 2020 targets

Note: The chart shows the change in energy consumption of EU Member States in 2019 compared to 2005, and their 2020 targets.

According to early EEA estimates, only nine Member States reduced their FEC between 2018 and 2019, with Italy and Latvia reducing FEC the most. These countries are among the few that saw reductions in all three sectors considered (industry, transport and other). Eighteen Member States saw a decrease in PEC between 2018 and 2019, with Slovakia in particular achieving large reductions in the consumption of solid and liquid fossil fuels, but also of renewables.

Overall, 17 Member States have decreased their FEC since 2005, and 23 have decreased their PEC. Reductions have been greatest in Greece and Italy, with both FEC and PEC being more than 15 % lower in 2019 than in 2005. Lithuania is an interesting case: a large increase (18 %) in FEC since 2005 was coupled with an even larger reduction (21 %) in PEC. This can be explained by the phasing out of nuclear energy and a decrease in the generation of electricity from fossil fuels in favour of renewables.

Target values, and progress towards them, vary greatly among countries. Only eight Member States, with Greece and Romania leading, met their FEC 2020 targets by 2019. For PEC, the number is 11, with Croatia and Romania leading.

Supporting information

Indicator definition

This indicator shows final and primary energy consumption for the 27 Member States of the EU from 2005 to 2019. Values for 2019 are approximated. Underlying disaggregated data on sectoral and fuel compositions were used in the assessment discussion.

In simplified terms, FEC represents the energy used by final consumers for all energy uses. It is the energy that reaches the final consumer’s door. PEC represents the total energy demand within a country, excluding the energy products consumed for purposes other than producing useful energy (non-energy uses, e.g. oil for plastics). For example, the electricity consumed by a household counts towards FEC; the fuel burned to generate that electricity counts towards PEC.

FEC is the total energy consumed by end users, such as households, industry and agriculture. PEC is the total energy demand of a country, excluding all non-energy uses of energy carriers (e.g. natural gas used not for combustion but for producing chemicals). PEC includes transformation losses (e.g. the energy lost when transforming fuels into electricity). Renewables such as hydropower, wind power and solar photovoltaic power generate electricity directly, without any accounted transformation. As a result, generating electricity from these renewables results in lower PEC than from fossil fuels for the same amount of electricity produced. More details on how FEC and PEC are calculated are provided in the methodology section below.

Values for 2019 are approximate (proxies) and have been estimated by the EEA with the intention of providing early indications of recent trends in energy consumption. These proxies were not obtained following the formal collection process for official statistics and are therefore less accurate and reliable than official statistics. Proxies will be replaced with official statistics once they become available.

Values for 2015-2018 were compiled and published by Eurostat, in collaboration with the relevant national authorities. Eurostat energy statistics are deemed to be the most accurate and reliable at EU level.



Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe)


Policy context and targets

Context description

Directive 2012/27/EU established a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its target of decreasing energy consumption by 20 % by 2020, compared with projected levels. This was amended by Directive (EU) 2018/2002, which provides a policy framework for 2030 and beyond. This new regulatory framework includes an energy efficiency target for the EU for 2030 of a 32.5 % reduction in energy consumption compared with projected levels, with a revision clause by 2023.

The amending of the directive was part of the comprehensive clean energy for all Europeans package, which aims to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The package includes other relevant legislation such as Directive (EU) 2018/844 (amending directives on the energy performance of buildings and energy efficiency), the recast Renewable Energy Directive (2018/2001/EU) and the Governance Regulation (2018/199/EU).

The composition of the energy mix and the level of consumption provide an indication of the environmental pressures associated with energy consumption. The type and magnitude of the environmental impacts associated with energy consumption, such as resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant emissions, water pollution and the accumulation of radioactive waste, strongly depend on the types and amounts of fuels consumed, as well as on the abatement technologies applied.


No targets has been defined for this indicator

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified



Methodology for indicator calculation

Eurostat data
To ensure comparability with energy efficiency targets, this indicator follows the Eurostat methodology for final energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) [FEC2020-2030] and primary energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) [PEC2020-2030].

Primary energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) = gross inland consumption (all products total) - gross inland consumption (ambient heat (heat pumps)) - final non-energy consumption (all products total)

Final energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030) = final energy consumption (all products total) - final energy consumption (ambient heat (heat pumps)) + international aviation (all products total) + transformation input blast furnaces (all products total) - transformation output blast furnaces (all products total) + energy sector blast furnaces (solid fossil fuels) + energy sector blast furnaces (manufactured gases) + energy sector blast furnaces (peat and peat products) + energy sector blast furnaces (oil shale and oil sands) + energy sector blast furnaces (oil and petroleum products) + energy sector blast furnaces (Natural gas).

Data set used: 'Complete energy balances nrg_bal_c'


      • FEC2020-2030 Final energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030)/all products
      • PEC2020-2030 Primary energy consumption (Europe 2020-2030)/all products
      • GIC Gross inland consumption/all products
      • NRG_BF_E Energy sector — blast furnaces — energy use/all products
      • FC_NE Final non-energy consumption/all products
      • FC_TRA_E Final consumption — transport sector — energy use/renewables and biofuels
      • FC_E Final consumption — energy use/ambient heat
      • PPRD Primary production/ambient heat

Details about this methodology are available from Eurostat at: ENERGY BALANCE GUIDE (Draft 31 January 2019) 

Proxy data
Proxy values are estimated using an array of methods and sources. This includes, in order of priority, direct consultation with Member States, official national statistics, unofficial data sets, grey literature and mathematical interpolation. The amount and quality of available data differ by country. More information can be found on the EEA’s web page on FEC and PEC proxies.

Geographical coverage
The time series for the EU-27 was made by summing the values for each year of the 27 countries that are currently Member States, regardless of whether they were members of the EU in any given year.

Official 2020 energy efficiency targets refer to the EU-28 as a whole and individual Member States. The EU-27 target used in this indicator is indicative only and has been calculated by subtracting the United Kingdom target from the EU-28 target.

Geographical comparability: the same method is applied for every country for the 2005-2018 series. For the 2019 proxies, the quality and availability of data varies among countries.

Comparability over the time series: the values for 2019 are approximated and have been estimated by the EEA. The rest of the values (2005-2018) have very good comparability, as exactly the same method has been used for every year and come from the same source (Eurostat).

Comparability with previous indicators: Poor comparability with indicators published in previous years due to: 1) merging of the old ENER016 and ENER026 indicators into a single indicator; 2) moving the scope from EU-28 to EU-27; and 3) changes in the Eurostat methodology over time.

Methodology for gap filling

Data gap filling is not necessary 

Methodology references

No methodology references available.



Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 016
Frequency of updates
Updates are scheduled once per year
EEA Contact Info


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage


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